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Kansas City, Mo. 

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Assistant Librarian, Brooklyn Public Library 

Formerly Librarian,, Williams College 

and Agent of the Free 'Public 

Library Commission of 



American Library Association 


E. W. L. 



THIS book is primarily intended as a basic text- 
book for library school use in the instruction of 
students of college grade who are preparing 
themselves for the executive position of librarian. 
It will also be found useful by those persons who 
are trying to discover for themselves the elementary 
principles of the administration of a public library. 
Because of the wide scope of the subject., the dis- 
cussion is limited, so far as possible, to the affairs of 
the administrator of a free public library, maintained 
under state laws, having an appointed board of trus- 
tees, receiving its main support from direct taxation 
or municipal appropriation, manned by a staff of 
approximately thirty people, and giving service to a 
community of approximately one hundred thousand 
population. To designate this type the general term 
"medium-sized" library is used. As a matter of fact, 
the principles which have the most value for the 
student are those which are equally applicable to 
small and large libraries as well. 

To make the book more useful to any student, 
whether he pursues his study in a group or individ- 
ually, a few selected references are added to each 
chapter. These may serve to lay emphasis on im- 
portant considerations, and to amplify matters 



which deserve further treatment than can be given 
them here. The book aims to give the student ideals 
for his work of managing a library, and to establish 
in his mind the proper principles of action. The 
application of those principles he must, as an ad- 
ministrator, work out in his own particular field of 
endeavor. Experience adds necessary expertness. 

Because of the availability of the extensive bibliog- 
raphies of Messrs. Cannons and Wheeler, no attempt 
has been made to include a complete bibliography. 
The references chosen for this book have to do direct- 
ly with the more limited conception of public library 
administration, as the direction or management of a 
public library. 

In the formal classroom instruction of the library 
school, investigation, solution of problems, reports, 
discussion, and conference are admirably adapted to 
the treatment of library administration. If actual 
practice supplements such methods of acquiring 
knowledge, so much the better. In that case, this 
text may serve as a point of departure. By way of 
equipment, there should be available in the files 
of the school as complete a collection as possible of 
printed data on business management and control of 
representative medium-sized American public libra- 
ries. With such a wealth of material at hand assign- 
ments may be made more intelligently and more 
satisfactorily for all concerned than through re- 
peated questionnaires. The material would quite 


naturally include annual' reports, schemes of library 
service, publicity material, organization data, budget 
figures, cost data, facts concerning personnel, and 
printed administrative forms. 

Among many other libraries characteristic of the 
medium-sized type, on which this discussion is 
based, are the public libraries in these cities: Albany, 
N. Y.; Davenport, Iowa; Des Moines, Iowa; East 
Cleveland, Ohio; East Orange, N. J.; Erie, Pa.; 
Flint, Mich.; Gary, Ind.; Haverhill, Mass.; Houston, 
Tex.; Kalamazoo, Mich.; Kenosha, Wis.; Manches- 
ter, N. HL; New Bedford, Mass.; Peoria, 111.; Quincy, 
Mass.; Racine, Wis.; St. Joseph, Mo.; Sioux City, 
Iowa; Somerville, Mass.; Spokane, Wash.; Spring- 
field, 111.; Springfield, Mass.; Superior, 111.; Syracuse, 
N. Y.; Tacoma, Wash.; and Wichita, Kan. 

Here is set down no new thing, nor is any claim 
made for originality of any kind. But in the quaint 
phrase of another (Luther Pratt wrote in his Intro- 
duction to arithmetic, New York, 1824) : "I say with- 
out diffidence, that the work contains as much orig- 
inality, as any other modern production of the kind; 
but whether it will be more useful, must be tested 
by experience." 

It is impossible to indicate all the aid and sug- 
gestions, acquired by a variety of experience, lavishly 
given by library school faculties, librarians, students, 
and laymen. The contribution has been generously 
made in the hope that librarianship may be ad- 

VI 11 


vanced by so much. Both aid and spirit are appre- 
ciated and gratefully acknowledged. I am especially 
indebted to Dean William F. Russell., Teachers Col- 
lege,, Columbia University; Ernest J. Reece, School 
of Library Service, Columbia University; C. Seymour 
Thompson, University of Pennsylvania Library; 
Hiller C. Wellman, City Library Association, Spring- 
field, Massachusetts; to Miss Clara Whitehill Hunt, 
Brooklyn Public Library, and Carl H. Milam, of 
Chicago, who read the manuscript in its various 
stages of development and brought to it discern- 
ing criticism, based on the fruition of their long 
professional experience. 


MARCH, 1928 



CHAPTER i. The Librarian as Administrator . ... i 

CHAPTER 2. The Librarian and the Trustees .... 21 

CHAPTER 3. Finances 48 

CHAPTER 4. Purchase of Books and Supplies .... 90 

CHAPTER 5. Administrative Organization 115 

CHAPTER 6. The Significance of Statistics 142 

CHAPTER 7. Public Library Opportunities 168 


Figure i. A. L. A. Statistics Form 61 

Figure 2. General Fund Account . 67 

Figure 3. Petty Cash Account 7%> 73 

Figure 4. Annual Budget Account 74 

Figure 5. Bills or Invoices ......... 75 

Figure 6. Voucher for Bills 76 

Figure 7. Voucher for Bills (reverse) 77 

Figure 8. Committee Report on Expenditures Approved 78 

Figure 9. Warrant Authorizing Payment of Bills . . 80 

Figure 10. Treasurer's Monthly Report ..... 83 

Figure u. Librarian's Monthly Report of Petty Cash . 84 

Figure 12. Pay Roll Voucher 85,86 

Figure 13. Annual Financial Statement, Complete . . 87 

Figure 14. Annual Financial Statement, A. L. A. Form. 88 

Figure 15. Declaration of Free Entry 97 



Figure 1 6. Certificate of Free Entry 98 

Figure 17. Supply Requisition Blank 10910 

Figure 18. Stock Record Card in 

Figure 19. Purchase Order Form 112 

Figure 20. Organization Chart., Seattle Public Library . 136 

Figure 21. Organization Chart, Des Moines Public Library 138 

Figure 22. Organization Chart, Youngstown Public Libraryi39 


The Librarian as Administrator 

E~ (RARIANSHIP, in the modern sense of the 
word., is a new profession. "That the true 
service of librarianship, as carried on by 
highly educated and well-trained librarians, ranks as 
a profession seems established beyond controversy 
when measured by the [accepted] definitions and 
criteria. That it is so regarded in the accepted 
thought of the day is indicated by the recognition 
accorded it by educational experts, official bodies 
and government agencies." 1 Librarianship is grow- 
ing in importance as a community force. It is grad- 
ually taking its place with other professions in 
pecuniary, social, professional, and personal re- 

It is an uncrowded profession. Indeed, it offers 
possibly more opportunity than most other pro- 
fessions to men and women of moral worth, wide 
interests, high purpose, broad culture, technical 
training, and executive ability, who are willing to 
devote time and energy to thorough preparation 
for large social service. Perhaps its most satisfying 
personal reward is the opportunity it offers for 

Herbert, C. W. (see References at end of chapter), p. 609. 



service in the intellectual and moral life of the 
community. 2 

The librarian's duties 

The technique of administration is a modern de- 
velopment in librarianship. We have had generations 
of librarians who were collectors of books, bibliog- 
raphers, classifiers, catalogers, and scholars. The 
urge today, following the tendency of the times, is to 
emphasize the organization and administration of 
book service. The librarian is the executive officer of 
the library, responsible directly to the trustees and 
indirectly to the public. He should be a good execu- 
tive and administrator, able to organize work effec- 
tively, to formulate plans and policies, to make 
decisions, and to direct the work of others. 

The library's service to the community must be 
efficient, intelligent, and alert. Theoretically, the op- 
portunities for such service are unlimited, and the 
possible results are immeasurable. In reality, they 
are no greater than the vision of the administrator 
and his power to realize his dreams. The spirit and 
purpose of the library's administration, the effective- 

2 "An energetic man at the head of a public library can be more than a 
librarian to the community. He can act as a leader in public thought. . . . 
he may look forward to a life of great pleasure but of modest income. His 
position is generally secure and he has an opportunity to assume a place of 
importance in the community. ... It is absurd for a young man to enter 
this profession unless he is attached to his fellow men. ... He must have a 
sympathetic spirit and love for the community/' (John Cotton Dana, in 
Library Journal, 46: 169, Feb. 15, 1921.) 


ness of its organization and its influence in the com- 
munity, depend to a large degree on the earnest 
effort, clear vision, and practical common sense of 
the librarian. About him and his work the library 
moves, and it is largely he who makes or mars its 
service. He is the director of the members of the 
staff, and should be their leader, adviser, inspirer, and 

The position of librarian in a progressive city, if 
properly filled, is a "man-sized" job. In it a strong, 
capable, well trained, mature man finds play for all 
his powers. It is a position for which a young man 
needs years of hard and painstaking preparation. He 
should not expect appointment to such a position at 
the end of his library school course, for it is question- 
able whether at that time he would have sufficient 
maturity of judgment or variety of experience to fit 
him for the solution of the problems which would 
confront him. 

The day's work of a librarian possesses interest, 
action, and complexity. A typical day cannot be 
described, for variety is a large element in every 
clay's work, and a typical day does not exist. A 
composite picture is not satisfactory, because such a 
picture is artificial, and must be shadowed in detail. 
The librarian of the public library in a city of about 
140,000 population has recorded the principal ac- 
tivities of several actual working days, and a part of 
this record will perhaps serve as well as any avail- 


able data to indicate the scope of a librarian's 
activities in a well administered, medium-sized public 

"MARCH 24, 1927. THURSDAY 

Staff meeting, 8:15 to 9:15. Books on sociology 
were discussed by three staff members. 

Looked over mail, which is always open and 
ready for consideration. 

Dictated letters in reply to four received. 

Short conferences with each of three branch 
librarians, and with one staff member who 
handed me her resignation to take effect in April. 
One branch needed cleaning; a second had 
several reference books mutilated by high school 
students; the third considered changes in sched- 
ule and book needs. 

Interviewed a book salesman. 

During this time there were several telephone 
interruptions, most important of which was one 
from a real estate agent investigating prices for 
a branch site. 

The library editor came in with copy for next 
month's bulletin, just before lunch. 

Lunch in the staff room from 12 to 12:30. 

Attended meeting of the Board of Directors 
of the Women's Department of the Chamber of 
Commerce, from 12:30 to 1:30. Suggested 
having Mr. , of the American Booksellers' 
Association, give a community book talk in 
the city and speak before the noon meeting of 


the general Chamber of Commerce early in the 

Visited the Court House, 1 130 to 2:30. Inter- 
viewed the county auditor and the county 
treasurer on tax valuation and the probable 
amount that will be available in the library 
fund for the year 1927-28. 

Called newspaper to have photographer go to 
the South Side branch and take a picture of 
posters displayed there. 

Advised a young railroad employee on a course 
of reading to improve his English. 

From 4 to 5, at the South Side branch library 
to announce the winners in a library poster 
contest that was conducted in the 6A grade of 
two schools. 

(Thursday has two regular meetings, the staff 
meeting at 8:15 and the board meeting of the 
Chamber of Commerce at noon. The visits to 
the Court House and to the South Side branch 
were, of course, unusual.) 

MARCH 25, 1927. FRIDAY 

Called at the City Hall at 8:30 to see the 
mayor on some library business. 

Looked over the morning paper; then the mail. 

Dictated letters, a few more than usual; 
among them, replies to two applications for 

Discussed bulletins with the head of the 
children's department and the head of the cir- 


dilation department; also some rearrangements 
of the display desks in the lobby. 

Looked over book orders and conferred on 
several points with the head of the order 

Lunch hour. 

Signed letters. 

Short conference with the head of the stations 
work concerning a station recently established, 
and another held in a church room which is now 
used for religious instruction at the same time. 

Interview with a teacher who would like to 
come into the library for the summer. 

Interview with the library editor, when final 
decisions were made on copy for the April 

Worked on the budget for the new year until 
time to go home. 

(That is a fairly typical day when I remain in 
the building, but the subjects requiring con- 
sideration vary greatly in the course of a week. 
Two afternoons a week I help at the loan desk 
during the rush hour if needed. I often have a 
quiet hour late in the afternoon when I can con- 
sider plans for the future or check on some de- 
tail work that I wish to do personally, as there 
are fewer interruptions at that time than earlier 
in the day.)" 

It must not be inferred from this outline that each 
task of the librarian is clear cut, and that a definite 


amount of time may be allotted to It. Frequent Inter- 
ruptions occur, and several tasks must often be kept 
under way at the same time, for there Is constant 
overlapping. The librarian must often wait for the 
details of one piece of work to be done by others, 
and while so waiting he must utilize the time for the 
accomplishment of something else. 

Although it is difficult to draw hard and fast lines 
between the different activities of a librarian, because 
they are never entirely separable, they include three 
fairly distinct kinds of work. As an executive, the 
librarian must supervise the routine of everyday 
tasks, and must take part In the actual performance 
of many of them; he must also serve as the repre- 
sentative of the board of trustees. As an adminis- 
trator, he must organize the work and formulate 
plans and policies for its continuous development. 
Beyond all this, as the city's librarian he is respon- 
sible to the entire community, and must maintain 
a close relation with all its component parts, its 
institutions, its individuals, and all its activities; in 
this sense the librarian becomes something of a 

These duties the executive, the administrative, 
and the diplomatic or civic are imposed on every 
librarian, though in varying proportions In different 
institutions. The smaller the library, the larger is the 
proportion of time naturally devoted to routine 
duties, for in a small library the execution of work, 


as well as its planning, devolves upon the librarian; 3 
yet even in the small library the administrator should 
have always before him a clearly defined plan of 
community service., and should work consistently for 
its realization. In a medium-sized library the execu- 
tive duties require a large part of the librarian's time, 
and the routine work he must delegate to others; 
there is some danger that the executive work may 
absorb all of his time, and that he will be merely the 
executive officer of the board of trustees, and will 
neglect his administrative duties. In the large libra- 
ries the administrative work of organization and 
policy-building absorb the greater part of the libra- 
rian's time, but he must endeavor to preserve a 
proper balance between his different duties and to 
be at the same time an executive, an administrator, 
and a community leader. 

The librarian as executive 

The librarian is the chief executive of the library 
organization. He is appointed to see that the de- 
cisions and policies of the board of trustees are car- 
ried out 3 and that all the activities of the library make 

3 A library school graduate of several years' standing writes: "We have to 
serve pretty much as one-man libraries. I have reached a city of 120,000 popula- 
tion and still have to be the head of practically every department except chil- 
dren's work and circulation, and of course these come up to me occasionally. 
I am supposed to know how to buy, catalog, and issue the books in the cheapest 
and most efficient manner; how to hire and manage a staff; how to look after 
and maintain the library building and grounds, and how to finance the whole 


satisfactory progress. In most libraries the trustees 
delegate to him the exercise of large powers, but he 
has no authority except that which is conferred upon 
him by the board. We know of no better outline of 
the usual powers and duties of a librarian than that 
contained in Iowa Library Commission Leaflet No. 
I, "Shall a free public library be established?" in 
which the following by-law is recommended for 
adoption by library boards: 

"The librarian shall have charge of the library and 
reading room and be responsible for the care and 
preservation of the books and other library property. 
He shall be responsible for the courtesy and efficiency 
of the library service; the accessioning, classifying, 
cataloging and shelving of the books; the enforce- 
ment of the rules, the accuracy of the records, the 
exact amount of moneys received by him from fines 
and other sources, and the cleanliness and attractive 
condition of the rooms. 

"He shall co-operate with the book committee in 
recommending books for purchase. 

"He shall make a monthly report of the operations 
of the library, including additions,, circulation, num- 
ber of borrowers, visitors, etc., and shall make such 
recommendations as shall promote the efficiency of 
the library. 

"He shall prepare an annual report showing as 
fully as possible the progress of the library during the 
preceding year, including an inventory of the books, 


etc., and shall attend the meetings of the board and 
assist the secretary in keeping the minutes and 

"He shall discharge such other duties as may be pres- 
cribed by the Board, provided that in the perform- 
ance of his duties he shall not incur debt or liability 
of any kind without authority from the Board." 

The librarian's first duty is the provision of proper 
equipment, of carefully selected books, and of an 
intelligent, competent staff. The whole organization 
depends so vitally on the people who compose the 
staff that a librarian's administrative success is 
measured, not primarily in terms of technical knowl- 
edge or technical skill, but in terms of ability to han- 
dle intelligently other persons. Many other matters 
must also have the librarian's attention: standard- 
ization of methods; short cuts in routine work; study 
of costs and budgets; problems of staff grading, of 
new appointments and promotions, and innumerable 
other details. But immersion in detail too frequently 
involves loss of ability to see the entire work from a 
detached point of view. The satisfactory discharge 
of all executive duties requires a clear perspective. 

The fundamental executive qualifications essen- 
tial to the success of the library administrator are 
those which are required of any executive. It is 
impossible here to discuss them all. 4 The librarian 

4 Among the essential qualifications of a good executive mentioned in Tead 
and Metcalf, Personnel administration, its principles and practice, page 138, are: 


requires an unusual endowment of sympathetic, af- 
fectionate interest in people. His problems are those 
of close personal relationship with the public., and of 
more intimate relations with the staff. In the staff 
he must foster a spirit of cooperation, of mutual 
interest, mutual responsibility, and continuing de- 
votion to the cause of book service; that harmony of 
mood and purpose which constitutes what we call 
morale. In the community he must secure such cor- 
dial appreciation and confidence that the people will 
ever regard the library as an integral part of the 
city's educational resources. 5 For all this, a forceful, 
yet friendly personality is needed. 

Furthermore, the librarian must have a well de- 
veloped scientific trend of mind. He must be able 
to solve a problem quickly by the analytical approach 
of a scientific thinker. He must be able, from a body 
of data based on experience, to draw accurate con- 
clusions. To cope successfully with the complicated 
problems of library administration he must plan for 
the future in a distinctly scientific manner. This 

"character; creative, sober imagination; sound judgment; courage; a sense of 
humor; ability to cooperate, to understand men, and to organize; receptivity; 
courtesy; expert technical knowledge, these are essential qualifications of the 
business executive." 

5 An efficiency expert, in possession of first-hand information concerning the 
leading libraries of the country, referring to the library which in his opinion 
renders most complete service to its community, said: "Generous appropriations 
express the people's estimate of this institution. By a campaign of friendship of 
over twenty-five years, emanating from the personality of the librarian, who 
showed an interest akin to affection for every citizen of the place, the library 
has won the heart of the city." 


requires ability to suppress his own personal feelings 
in the presence of facts, and to discriminate between 
fact and opinion. It requires power to adapt his 
ideals to existing conditions in the interest of con- 
structive improvement. Only from firm and lasting 
foundations is progress possible. 

Tlie librarian as administrator 

In his administrative capacity it is primarily the 
duty of the librarian to think, to plan, and to propose. 
The board sits in judgment on his propositions, and a 
wise administrator will always welcome its fair, 
honest criticism of his plans. For the trustees can 
see them more nearly as they will appear to the com- 
munity, and will often be better able than the libra- 
rian to evaluate their strong and their weak points, 
and to discern errors in judgment; and if, on the other 
hand, the librarian can meet their criticism and con- 
vince them of the worth of his proposals, he will have 
their whole-hearted support against criticism from 
the public. 

Utilizing all possible sources of information, the 
librarian must develop a clear conception of the 
functions of a public library. He must then discover 
practical means for the realization of this conception; 
that is, he must evolve a working philosophy, in 
which all details of organization, administration, and 
service will be relegated to their proper places in the 
whole scheme. With such a plan constantly before 


him, modified or enlarged as newly acquired knowl- 
edge or changing conditions may suggest, each ex- 
perience can be retained and fitted correctly into the 
pattern, while otherwise its lessons might be lost. 

One of the first duties of a newly appointed libra- 
rian, especially, is to make a mental survey of the 
library and of its potential resources and accomplish- 
ments. From this survey, utilizing all his training 
#nd experience, he must plan a constructive admin- 
strative program. In carrying out this program, the 
librarian should take the initiative, working for its 
execution little by little, but as rapidly as circum- 
stances may make possible. 

For the fulfilment of many of the ideas and 
plans of the program It may be necessary to wait 
patiently, and to conduct a quiet campaign of edu- 
cation. But the librarian should not be deterred 
from his purpose by difficulties. Progress may seem 
slow, but, if his case is sound, quiet persistence will 
win. The administrator should possess the qualities 
of real leadership, relying on a contagious, intelligent 
nthusiasm rather than on force of argument alone 
or on the power of authority. That he represents the 
entire community should be a constant stimulus to 
deal Impartially with everyone; he must not become 
a part of any faction. He must frequently rise from 
the routine of executive duties into educational 
statesmanship, recognizing how much is readily and 
immediately attainable, and taking advantage of 


time and opportunity in further development of his 
policies. By dealing frankly and honestly with all 
with his trustees,, the city officials, the press and the 
public he can enlist both public sentiment and the 
trustees in support of his recommendations. But he 
must often be content to bide his time. 

The librarian as diplomat 

In many of his relations with the community the 
librarian must have something of the qualities of a 
diplomat or statesman. He has rich opportunities to 
make close contacts between the library and the 
community: through printed bulletins, newspaper 
publicity, the annual report, and, more personally, 
through addresses at public meetings and in personal 
interviews. He has many opportunities to take a 
prominent part in community activities. If wisely 
used, these contacts will be a source of much benefit 
to the library; if not wisely used, they will be a 
handicap. 6 

The librarian should know his community, and be 
able to feel its pulse and to recognize its needs. The 
community should know the librarian, and believe 

6 In commenting on the demands made upon a librarian as a leader in com- 
munity activities, an excellent administrator of a medium-sized library gives 
this warning: "Keep yourself from falling into that class of public librarians 
who allow themselves to become known in their communities as 'easy marks* 
by permitting themselves to be drafted by such outside activities as membership 
on committees, boy scout councils, local 'drives/ women's club programs, book 
review clubs, boards of trustees, Rotary club secretaryships, etc., etc., to the 
sad neglect of their actual jobs and the detriment of their health." 


in his integrity and honesty of purpose. One of the 
most important assets in the prosecution of his work 
is the confidence of the community in his ability as 
an administrator and executive. "Outside of ability 
to provide the material which readers ask for, the 
greatest factor in molding sentiment Is the impression 
made by those who serve the public and the spirit 
with which they do their work. This touches prac- 
tically every phase of library work; training, expe- 
rience, personality of the staff. A library with a staff 
selected and organized to work effectively, together 
with the necessary machinery (for selecting, pur- 
chasing, and preparing the books), kept running 
smoothly and simply, will reflect an atmosphere of 
helpfulness through all its departments, even those 
not coming in contact with the public." 7 

Education, training, and experience 

He who plans for himself a career as administrator 
of a large library, or even of a library of medium size, 
should make his preparation as complete as possible. 
His fundamental academic education and his special 
training, supplemented with experience, will in some 
degree determine his success. A carefully planned 
college course should be considered an essential foun- 
dation for librarlanshlp. To this should be added at 
least a year of library school training. Some take a 
second year, and whether it Is better to take the two 

7 Wheeler 3 J. L. The library and the community, p. 98. 


years of professional study consecutively, or to have 
an interval of experience in actual library work be- 
tween them, is a question which is earnestly support- 
ed on either side. Whatever else his professional 
education gives him., the librarian must acquire an un- 
derstanding of the structure of society and must ap- 
preciate the importance of human contacts. He needs 
to meet people on their own plane, with sympathetic 
understanding. He is not a reformer; he is a com- 
panion and guide. 

Although it can hardly be called an actual require- 
ment for an administrator, travel is important, for it 
adds to formal education and training, as nothing 
else can, an appreciation of conditions beyond the 
horizon. Particularly important is it to visit libraries 
and observe their conduct. Any effort to acquire in- 
formation and culture through travel, during the 
more or less carefree days of undergraduate years or 
immediately following, will yield untold returns. 

After a study of the theory and practice of libra- 
rianship comes experience. For a few years it may be 
desirable to serve in non-administrative positions. 
The years which are passed as assistant, as branch 
librarian, or as librarian of a small library, are years 
in which the effectiveness of general and professional 
preparation can be doubled. Practically no expe- 
rience will be without value, and different positions 
may well be sought in order to obtain variety of ex- 
perience. There is perhaps need of warning, however, 


against a scattering of effort. Too frequent changes 
of post, made without careful planning, will weaken, 
rather than strengthen one's professional value. 

These early years are the time for professional 
study. It is of the utmost importance that the libra- 
rian keep in touch, through reading and through 
conferences, with current progress in his field. He 
may put these early years to good account if he re- 
members that his subordinate position gives him an 
opportunity to study administration under expe- 
rienced leaders. He must learn to accept willingly all 
duties and all work which lead toward his ultimate 
goal, and must resolutely reject everything which 
does not. If possible, he should have practice in 
public speaking. Ability to write clearly and con- 
vincingly is worth cultivating. He should welcome 
opportunities to meet with practical men of affairs 
in discussion of general problems, in order that he 
may not become too academic. 

Personal and professional qualifications 

To the training and varied experience which are of 
fundamental importance to a librarian, certain per- 
sonal qualities must be added if any degree of success 
is to be achieved. The librarian must be orderly, 
both in person and in mind; he must be temperate, in 
speech and in act; he must be honest and square. 
He must have a good sense of time, that he may 
transact his business with dispatch, and a good sense 


of proportion, that he may see things in their proper 
relationships. He must have both courtesy of manner 
and strength of mind. He must resist the lure of the 
limelight, and the temptation to discuss his own ac- 
complishments. A sense of humor is a saving grace, 
and will keep him from taking himself too seriously. 

He must be alert, and able to get things done. 
This requires an understanding of human nature, 
with much personal force and some genuine diplo- 
matic skill. He must know when and how to speak, 
and when and how to be silent. He must be pre- 
pared to accept success without vainglory, and defeat 
without embitterment. He must keep a level head, 
that he may not be carried away by some new com- 
munity enthusiasm or by some clever political trick. 
He must by all means avoid developing a "grouch" 
over the situation which confronts him, for a man 
with a grouch never inspires confidence and is always 
relatively ineffective. 

In discussing "Adult education via leisure and 
libraries,'' Dr. Joseph Collins writes (in ^he doctor 
looks at love and life, p. 275) : "Libraries should take 
a leaf out of the book of Big Business. They are not 
managed with the open-handedness and efficiency 
that large institutions require and obtain in this 
country. When librarians shall be executives or ad- 
ministrators first, and book-lovers second, libraries 
will be more efficient as purveyors and disseminators 
of information that the adult who is determined to 


be educated is seeking/' A somewhat different 
opinion, that the ideals of the executed should 
supplement, rather than supplant, the scholarly 
ideals of other days, is indicated by the following: 
" . . . the majority of us and the best of us want 
our status to be professional . . . ; but ... we can 
only gain it by increased attention to the cultural 
subjects, by such untiring work on the part of every 
one of us that the name 'librarian' shall come to be 
as synonymous with the name 'scholar' as is that of 
the best people in the teaching profession. Nor is 
being a scholar incompatible in any degree with 
being a person of good sense and keen business ability 
it will not be necessary to neglect the routine and 
details of our business in order to bring ourselves up 
to the levels I have outlined." (H. L. Kidder, in 
Public Libraries, 29: 127, March 1924.) 

Books and print are the professional tools of the 
librarian. Knowledge of books and skill in their use 
are acquired only through years of discriminating 
association with them. Without such knowledge, 
other qualifications for leadership are weakened or 
nullified; the librarian must know books, as well as 
people/ His administration is but a means to an 
end the enrichment of living by guiding children 
in their reading, and by helping maturer minds to 

8 "If you do not like to read you have no real place in the professional work 
of a library. If you like people better than books, try, not to like people less, 
but to like books more." Walter, R 1C (see References at end of chapter), 
p. 210. 


discover new powers and wider horizons, to adapt 
themselves, intellectually, to their environment, and 
to utilize their full opportunities. If he does not care 
for books, and does not believe them a vital necessity 
to himself and to his city, his executive efforts might 
better be devoted to some form of commercial work. 


AMES, J. G. Can a trained librarian be made to pay? Wisconsin Library Bul- 
letin, 21:7-8, January, 1925. 

COLLINS, JOSEPH. The doctor looks at love and life. Doran, 1926, p. 258-79. 

FLAGG, CHARLES A. A librarian to his assistants. Public Libraries., 25:516, 
November, 1920. 

FLEXNER, JENNIE M. Choosing a librarian from the viewpoint of the assistant. 
Public Libraries, 25:42932, October, 1920. 

HERBERT, CLARA W. Librarianship a profession. Library Journal, 48:605-9, 
July, 1923. 

MARVIN, CORNELIA. Our library problems. Public Libraries^ 25:67-69, Feb- 
ruary, 1920. 

PETRIE, GEORGE. The librarian as a statesman. Public Libraries, 25:425-29, 
October, 1920. 

PRESTON, ETHEL. The opportunities of a librarian as seen by a bookseller. 
Public Libraries, 26:304-5, June, 1921. 

A Public Library Survey. Public Libraries, 25:179-82, April, 1920. (Abstracts.) 

SHAW, CHARLES B. Creative librarianship. Libraries, 31 =4-7, January, 1926. 

Some Principles of Library Administration. Michigan Library Bulletin, 
12:27-29, May-June, 1921. 

WALTER, FRANK K. In a quiet corner with a little book. Wisconsin Library 
Bulletin, 21:208-12, October, 1925. 

WHYTE, FLORA H. The routine of work in the small library. Wisconsin Library 
Bulletin, 15:126-30, May, 1919. 

WILLIAMSON, C. C. Efficiency in library management. Library Journal, 
44:67-77, February, 1919. 

The Librarian and the Trustees 

IN the administration of the library the board of 
trustees and the librarian form a partnership, in 
which each is indispensable to the other. The 
board appoints the librarian., and thereby pledges to 
him its support and assistance. The librarian is the 
trusted officer of the board, and whatever power and 
authority he possesses is granted by the board; by 
his use of this authority he proves himself worthy or 
unworthy of the board's confidence. Only through 
the heartiest cooperation of the trustees and the libra- 
rian, in all the intimate relations which necessarily 
exist between them, can the best administration be 

It is sometimes argued that a board of trustees is 
no longer a necessity for a public library. We are 
reminded that most of the state library laws which re- 
quire the appointment of a board were enacted before 
the day of trained librarians, when there was greater 
need than today for the personal supervision of trus- 
tees. Others argue that the board of trustees had 
its origin when the establishment and maintenance of 
libraries was regarded chiefly as a matter of private 
philanthropy, and not as a community responsibility* 
The tendency of large corporations to lessen the power 



of the board of directors and to increase the power of 
the executive, leads others to argue that public institu- 
tions might well follow the same course. Some trus- 
tees have themselves remarked that, with an efficient 
librarian, they generally have little to do with routine, 
and argue that frequent board meetings require an un- 
necessary amount of their time and of the librarian's. 

Nevertheless, a board of control, in some form, is 
usually considered essential. The chief exceptions are 
in the county library system of California, which has 
also been adopted in several other states, where the 
libraries are under the control of the county adminis- 
trative board; and in cities which are under the city 
manager form of government, where the librarian is 
responsible to the city manager. In any case, how- 
ever, there must be some board or some official to 
whom the librarian is answerable for his conduct of 
the library. 

Two fundamental principles of library adminis- 
tration have immediate bearing on the functions and 
the mutual relations of the board of control the 
trustees, directors, managers, or whatever they may 
be called and the librarian. First, it is essential that 
those in charge of the library shall have a full knowl- 
edge and clear understanding of the legal rights and 
duties of the library and its officers. They should 
know and understand the provisions of the state con- 
stitution, the state laws, the city charter, and the 
city ordinances, relating to libraries in general and 


particularly to their own library. This is as funda- 
mentally important for the governing board as it is 
for the librarian. Second, it is essential that both 
the governing board and the librarian shall have a full 
understanding of their own prerogatives and func- 
tions, and of those which belong to the other, for both 
have very definite duties to perform in the adminis- 
tration of the library. 

Functions of the board 

As the legal representative of the library, the board 
is vested with whatever powers and duties the people 
have delegated to it by law; powers and duties which 
could not be given to the librarian, employed as an 
executive officer, but which can be conferred by the 
people on a board lawfully chosen to represent them. 
The board is concerned particularly with the control 
of funds; by whatever name it may be called, it Is 
primarily a board of trustees* It is charged with the 
duty of securing from the municipal authorities an 
adequate annual appropriation, or from the elec- 
tors an adequate tax levy. Within the limits of the 
library's income it must determine the amount that 
may be spent for books, for salaries, and for general 
administrative purposes. It is responsible for the 
wise investment and use of trust funds. As trustees 
of valuable property, whether in real estate and build- 
ings or in securities, the board must sometimes make 
decisions which may involve the possibility of litiga- 


tion. For this reason the board of a large library 
frequently has a law committee, among its standing 
committees, to which such matters may be referred,, 
and it is always well to take no action, the legality 
of which may be questionable,, without consulting the 
city attorney. 

The board also determines the policies of the 
library, guiding and controlling its progress. It de- 
termines the agencies and paths of action, and then 
delegates this action to others, holding the libra- 
rian responsible for the proper performance of the 
library's work in accordance with the adopted policies. 
Thus the board is a board of directors, as well as a 
board of trustees. A board of "managers/' literally, 
it should never be. The members are charged with 
the duty of ensuring a good return to the community 
for the money spent; they should see that a proper 
relation is maintained between expenditures for books 
and for administration; that the library provides 
wholesome recreation for the reading public, and at 
the same time tends to raise the educational stand- 
ards of the community* But they should concern 
themselves with results, rather than with methods, 
and should leave to the librarian the duty of attain- 
ing the desired results. If he proves incapable of sat- 
isfactorily directing the work of the library, they 
should employ another in his place rather than dis- 
organize the whole institution by themselves under- 
taking administrative management. 


The board represents the entire community, and 
presumably is expected by the community to make 
the library an efficient agency for public education 
and recreation. It need hardly be said that the idea 
of "spoils," political, personal, social, or religious, 
has no place in library management. The trustees, 
however, have many opportunities, through their 
acquaintances and affiliations, to enlighten citizens 
concerning the library's work and needs; they have it 
in their power to gain for the library good friends, who 
may some day give tangible evidence of their interest. 

Trustees sometimes suffer from one of two ills: 
indifference, or over-zealous attention to details of 
administration. It is a wise chairman who can pre- 
vent these ills from manifesting themselves, and it is 
an unfortunate librarian whose chairman lacks this 
wisdom. To the over-zealous trustee it should be 
made clear that his interest is appreciated, but that 
the librarian, as the library's executive, cannot resign 
his duties or surrender his prerogatives to a trustee; 
if possible, a way should be found by which the mis- 
directed interest and activity may be guided into 
useful channels. For the indifferent trustee, a cam- 
paign of education is the best remedy. Without bur- 
dening them unnecessarily with small details, the 
librarian should keep the board members fully in- 
formed concerning all that the library is doing. The 
best informed board of trustees I have met is one 
whose members know every member of the staff, and 


can talk Intimately and intelligently about the libra- 
ry's work as a whole and the work of individual 
assistants, without a suggestion of interference in 
administration. This is due to the fact that the 
librarian has made the personal relationship of the 
trustees to himself and his staff a vital part of their 
relationship to the institution. 

Functions of the librarian 

The executive duties of the librarian,, as the ad- 
ministrative head of the library, have been discussed 
in Chapter i. Since he is responsible to the board 
for the execution of the adopted policies, and for the 
proper performance of the library's work and the ful- 
filment of its purposes, he should have a free hand in 
developing and directing its Internal and technical 
administration. This should include the power of 
appointing, promoting, and If necessary dismissing 
his assistants, subject to the approval of the board. 
Many librarians insist that this power should be 
absolute, without reference to the board 3 arguing that 
the responsibility which is theirs must be accom- 
panied by unquestioned control of their assistants. 
There is much strength in this argument. But with 
the right kind of trustees the librarian will lose 
nothing by having his appointive power subject to 
the "advice and consent" of the board 5 and this ad- 
vice and consent will be a source of strength, not a 
handicap. With the wrong kind of trustees, it is usu- 


ally easier to gain approval in advance than to win 
their later support; no by-law could give a librarian 
so supreme a power that the wrong kind of trustee 
might not seek to use his personal influence for or 
against an appointment, and the librarian can more 
safely rely on the board's cooperation than on his own 
supposedly unquestioned authority. 

Both the trustees and the librarian should rea- 
lize that the board is the supreme authority. The 
librarian is responsible directly to the board; and, 
through the board, to the community. A librarian 
whose administration is preeminent because of the 
splendid cooperation between the trustees and himself 
has acted on this principle: "Library trustees serve 
without pay; they accept appointment to the board 
because it is regarded as an honor, and because they 
are interested in the library; therefore the librarian, 
even though at some inconvenience and delay, should 
always consult with his trustees before taking action 
in any matter in which they might like to be con- 
sulted. There is no sharp dividing line between the 
functions of the librarian and the functions of the 
trustees; the only fundamental rule is the rule of 
mutual consideration. We cannot have men and 
women, either as trustees or as librarians, unless it is 
understood that responsibility goes with the job/' 

Occasional personal interviews with the trustees 
individually may be productive of much good. All 
trustees like to be informed concerning the progress 


of the library's work and the development of new 
projects,, and from the trustees, individually as well 
as collectively, the librarian may obtain many 
suggestions for improvement and expansion of the 
library's service. Under no circumstances, however, 
should the librarian attempt to secure pledges of 
support on measures which are to be acted upon by 
the board. All matters requiring action should be 
presented to the board as a whole, or to the ap- 
propriate committee, and nothing even remotely sug- 
gesting politics should enter into the librarian's re- 
lations with his trustees. 

Constitution of the board 

In all but a very few of the states the law regulat- 
ing the establishment and maintenance of public 
libraries prescribes in detail the method by which the 
trustees shall be chosen. Many different methods are 
current in different states, and often, within the same 
state, in municipalities of different classes or in public 
libraries of different forms of organization (city, town, 
county, township, etc.). 

The most common method of appointment in cities 
is either by the mayor (usually subject to confirma- 
tion by the council) or by the city council; in villages 
and towns, likewise, the appointments are usually 
made by the village board of trustees or the town 
board. In several states, however, particularly in 
New England., the law provides that in towns, vil- 


lages and townships the board shall be elected by vote 
of the people, either at "town meeting" or at a gen- 
eral or special election. In a few states the members 
are appointed by the board of education or school 
board, by the township supervisors, or by other 
boards or officials designated by the law. 

"School district" public libraries, organized on the 
basis of the school district instead of the city or 
town, may be under the control of the district board 
of trustees, th*e school board, or a separate library 
board; if a separate library board is chosen, the mem- 
bers are usually appointed by the school board, but 
in at least one state they are elected by the people. 

County library boards in most states are appointed 
either by the administrative board of the county or 
by various county officials; in California, and several 
states which have patterned their county libraries 
after the California system, the libraries are directly 
under the supervision of the board of county super- 

In many cities the board fills its own vacancies, and 
is therefore self-perpetuating. Nearly all of these libra- 
ries, however, are private corporations which give 
public service under contract with the city, for which 
they receive an appropriation from the public funds. 
In only one state is the self-perpetuating board pro- 

1 For summaries of the laws relating to library boards and to the establish- 
ment and administration of public libraries, see A survey of libraries in the 
United States (American Library Association, 1926-27), volume 2, part 3. 


vided for by the law governing public libraries in 

The laws of several states provide that one or more 
members of the municipal government (usually the 
mayor) shall be ex officio members of the library 
board. In several other states the law stipulates that 
no member of the municipal government shall be 
eligible for the office of library trustee, and in several 
others not more than one member of the city coun- 
cil, or corresponding body., may be a member of the 
library board. The laws of some states provide that 
the superintendent of schools or some other school 
official shall be ex officio a member of the library 
board; in nearly as many others, no school trustee or 
official is eligible for appointment. 

It is generally agreed, among librarians, that a 
small board is more efficient than a large one. There 
is little agreement, however, in the laws of the dif- 
ferent states; the usual number is from three to seven, 
but many of the states have laws which provide for 
eight, nine, or even as many as twelve members. 
Some boards have been formed on the principle, more 
or less openly recognized, that the members should be 
representative of different elements of the com- 
munity. Too large a number, however, does not en- 
courage team work, or a feeling of individual respon- 
sibility, and a board that is too small is likely to be 
dominated by one member, and is frequently handi- 
capped by failure to secure a quorum at its meetings. 


In a small town five is perhaps the best number,, and 
In a city, either five or seven. 

The term of office of the trustees varies from two to 
six years, but in most states is either three, four, or 
five years. Since the trustees of a public library are 
public officers, even though they serve without re- 
muneration, a too-long term of service, without re- 
election or reappointment, would be undesirable. 
Usually a certain number of terms expire each year, 
the number being proportioned to the whole number 
of members and the length of term, so that a ma- 
jority of the members will never go out of office in 
the same year. This ensures stability and continuity 
of management. In most libraries the board elects 
its own president and other officers annually. 

The ideal board is one which is sufficiently well- 
balanced to provide as many contacts as possible 
with the various interests and activities of the com- 
munity. It should be composed of men, or of men 
and women, who are experienced and capable in 
business affairs, and effective in their contact with 
people. It is not necessary that every trustee should 
be a person of great learning, or even of extensive 
reading. Every trustee should, however, feel deeply 
the value of the public library as a part of the educa- 
tional system of the community. He should under- 
stand the fundamental principles underlying success- 
ful library administration, and should have moral 
strength to resist outside pressure for the appoint- 


ment of unqualified employees; he should be well 
known and well liked, that he may have the con- 
fidence of the public, and should be broad enough to 
serve impartially all classes of the community; he 
must be public-spirited enough to serve without 
pay, and conscientious enough to recognize the obli- 
gations Involved in his acceptance of the appoint- 

The organization of the board may be determined 
partly by the size and the nature of the library. 
There is always a need, of course, for a president, a 
secretary, and unless all money is disbursed by the 
city or town disbursing officer a treasurer. It is 
generally conceded, however, that the simpler the 
organization of the board, and the fewer the com- 
mittees, the more expeditious will be the transaction 
of business. 

Board meetings 

It is obvious that without regular meetings of the 
trustees the library cannot be properly administered, 
and provision should be made in the by-laws for 
regular meetings at stated times, and also for an 
"annual" meeting at which officers shall be elected. 
In most libraries the best results will come from 
monthly meetings, with special meetings, called in 
accordance with the by-laws, held occasionally if 
required by emergency. More frequent meetings are 
both unnecessary and undesirable, and less frequent 


meetings will not keep the trustees in close touch with 
the library's work and needs. 

The fact that the by-laws appoint the time for 
regular meetings should not be relied upon to assure 
attendance. It is customary for the librarian, who in 
many libraries serves as the secretary of the board, 
to send each member a postal notice at least a week 
in advance, stating the time and place of the meeting, 
and giving any other information which the president 
may wish to have included. In some libraries a reply 
postal card is sent, on which each member is request- 
ed to state whether or not he plans to be present. 
On the day of the meeting it is well for the librarian 
to telephone each member, to remind him of the hour 
for which the meeting is called; in this way it is often 
possible to secure a quorum which might otherwise be 
lacking. This procedure also guards against the pos- 
sibility that a meeting of the board may be held 
without the advance knowledge of every member; 
for any part of the board to meet informally, either 
as a board or in caucus, is an irregularity for which 
there can be no valid excuse. 

It is often difficult to secure the attendance of city 
officials who are ex officlo members of the board. 
Some librarians send to such officials a statement of 
all important proceedings at the meetings of the 
board, in order that when the budget or the tax levy 
is under consideration they may be well informed 
concerning the library's needs. Of the appointed or 


elected trustees It is not too much to expect that 
they will regard all meetings of the board as definite 
engagements, to have precedence, so far as possible, 
over all others. In several states the law provides 
that absence, without valid excuse, from a specified 
number of consecutive meetings, will render a trus- 
tee's office vacant. Similar provision has been made in 
some cities, by or with the approval of the city council. 
That the librarian should attend all meetings of the 
board, and all committee meetings, is a principle so 
generally observed that it may be regarded as an un- 
written law. Certainly no other practice would be 
consistent with either harmony or efficiency of admin- 
istration, or with the librarian's position as the ex- 
ecutive head of the library. At each meeting the 
librarian should present a full report concerning the 
work of the library, and should submit for considera- 
tion, with his recommendations, all matters which 
require action by the board. He should plan in ad- 
vance every detail, anticipate every emergency, have 
at hand any reports or other information that may be 
required, and be prepared to give his well considered 
advice on any matter discussed. Successful meetings 
are impossible without careful planning and prepa- 
ration. All matters brought up for discussion should 
be so clearly stated that the board can readily under- 
stand what they are asked to consider, and can vote 
intelligently. All statements should be concise and 
direct, discriminating between principles or policies 


and details. The trustees may require information 
as to how a policy can be executed, but such details 
can be better presented upon demand than when the 
entire proposal is presented. 

The preparation of the material which is to be 
brought before the board depends somewhat upon the 
size of the board and the method of procedure which 
it has adopted. In some libraries everything is 
brought first before the entire board, and any mat- 
ters that are thought to require consideration by a 
committee are referred by the board to the proper 
standing committee or to a special committee ap- 
pointed for the purpose, either with power to act or 
with instructions to report at a later meeting. In 
other libraries the librarian has authority to present 
matters to the proper committees, in advance of the 
board meeting, and the committees may then report 
to the board with their recommendations. This 
method of procedure is an effective timesaver. 

For every meeting of the board the librarian should 
prepare a program of the things which are to be done, 
and a copy of the "agenda" should be given to the 
chairman, and another to the secretary. No matter 
how large or how small the board may be, the meet- 
ings should be conducted with punctuality, definite 
routine, businesslike procedure, and prompt adjourn- 
ment. There "must be a definite "order of business," 
which is usually determined by the by-laws. For 



Roll call 

Reading of minutes 


Treasurer's report 

Librarian's report 

Reports of committees 

Election of officers (at annual meeting) 

Unfinished business 

New business 


Under "communications" may be included such 
matters as letters from the mayor, or other city 
officials, regarding appropriations and funds, hearings 
on budgets, appointment of new members of the 
board, etc.; petitions from citizens for the establish- 
ment of branches; and any communications that have 
previously been presented to committees of the board 
and have been referred back to the entire board. 


The committees which are most common are com- 
mittees on books, on building, and on finance; and 
either an administration committee or an executive 
committee or both. There is no uniformity, however, 
in the names of committees, in the extent of their 
activity, or in the method of their organization and 
work, and no outline of committee organization can 


be made which will fit all libraries. The following 
outline represents fairly well the general nature of 
the duties most often assigned to the committees 

The book committee may report to the board the 
amount expended since the last meeting for books 
(usually including periodicals and binding, unless 
these are under separate committees), and the 
amount still remaining for this item under the appor- 
tionment of the budget; also the total number of 
volumes which have been presented to the library 
since the last meeting, perhaps reporting separately 
the number of bound volumes, unbound volumes, and 
pamphlets; any especially noteworthy acquisitions, 
received through purchase or by gift, may receive 
individual mention. Beside these more or less per- 
functory reports, all recommendations pertaining to 
the book fund and the book collection logically come 
from this committee. Actual discussion of proposed 
purchases, the approval of titles recommended, and 
the rejection of titles which are thought undesirable, 
are usually completed at the meetings of the book 
committee, which then reports its recommendations 
to the board for final action. 

All matters pertaining to the construction or 
maintenance of the library buildings are naturally 
under the supervision of the building committee, or 
the committee on building and grounds: architect's 
plans, bids and contracts for construction, repairs, 


rental of quarters for branches which do not occupy 
buildings owned by the city, etc. 

To the finance committee are ordinarily referred 
all matters of policy pertaining in any way to the 
library's income and expenditures: the preparation 
of the budget estimates for submission to the city 
authorities, the apportionment of the available 
funds among the different items, the investment of 
endowment funds, and the auditing of library 

The functions of the administration committee and 
the executive committee are less obvious and less 
easily defined. In many of the small- and medium- 
sized libraries these committees are merged into one, 
or dispensed with altogether; in the latter case, 
recommendations on matters of administration are 
made directly to the board by the librarian. In larger 
libraries, where there is more likely to be need of 
both an administration committee and an executive 
committee, the division of duties is, in general, along 
the following lines: The administration committee 
reports, and makes recommendations, on all mat- 
ters of importance affecting the administration of 
the library its service to the public, the rules govern- 
ing use of its buildings and collections, the establish- 
ment of new branches, and all matters pertaining to 
the staff, including appointments, resignations, dis- 
missals, leaves of absence, salary increases, etc. The 
executive committee concerns itself primarily with 


the details of financial administration the approval 
of the budget, the expenditure of funds within the 
authorized limitations, and the approval of recom- 
mendations of the administration committee regard- 
ing staff appointments, promotions, salary increases, 
or other matters which involve the expenditure 
of funds. 

It must be remembered, however, that there is 
very little uniformity, among libraries in general, in 
regard to the number of committees and their 
functions, or the extent to which their functions are 
delegated by them to the librarian. Very often the 
provisions of the by-laws which outline the duties of 
committees are allowed to become non-operative ex- 
cept in matters which may be specifically referred, 
by the librarian or by the board, for committee con- 
sideration. It may seem desirable, for example, for 
the selection of all books to be, nominally, the care 
of the book committee, but in practice the com- 
mittee's exercise of this prerogative may be very 
perfunctory except in occasional cases. A practice 
which is followed in many libraries, in referring to 
committees only such matters as require special 
consideration, is illustrated by the following report 
of one librarian's practice. "We formerly had regu- 
lar meetings of the book committee every month. 
At each meeting I laboriously discussed every new 
adult title which I recommended. (It was under- 
stood, so far as juveniles were concerned, that we 


should purchase only classics, and such new titles as 
were recommended by good library authorities.) 
After several years this procedure was given up, as 
unnecessary and undesirable, and I now consult the 
book committee only on special occasions. Every 
month I submit to each member, for approval, a 
typewritten list of books which I propose to recom- 
mend at the next meeting of the board. If any 
member of the committee objects to any book on the 
list, or wishes to recommend other books which are 
not on the list, he does so at the meeting of the 

Minutes of board meetings 

Careful minutes of every meeting of the board 
should be kept, in order that there may be an authori- 
tative official record of all discussions, decisions, and 
acts. The minutes are ordinarily written by the 
secretary of the board, who, as already stated, is often 
the librarian. The minutes should record the names 
of all members present, inserting at the proper 
point mention of the arrival of anyone not present 
when the meeting was called to order; should note 
the reading and acceptance of the minutes of the 
preceding meeting, including a record of any addi- 
tions or corrections ordered made in those minutes 
as read; should state carefully the substance of all 
communications, reports, and recommendations, and 
should record all motions and resolutions in the exact 


form in which they are offered, and the vote on each. 
If the vote is not unanimous, the minutes should 
record the names of those voting "aye" and those 
voting "no/ ? 

Great care should be taken to have the minutes 
accurate in all these respects, and full enough to 
avoid any possible ambiguity and misunderstanding 
at some later time. When read and confirmed at the 
next meeting of the board, the minutes become the 
official record of all discussion and action, and will 
be the court of last appeal if any question should ever 
be raised as to who was present at a particular meet- 
ing, what motions or resolutions were offered, and 
how each member voted. If the work of the board is 
divided among committees, and the committee meet- 
ings are frequent and important, it is desirable to 
have a record book for each committee, in which the 
minutes of its meetings may be kept. 

After each meeting, every person who is in any 
way affected by any action of the board should at 
once be notified of such action in writing, and a copy 
of the letter should be carefully preserved in the 
correspondence files. 

The by-laws of the Syracuse (N. Y.) Public Library 
are presented here in full, as fairly typical of the 
organization of many library boards. The board is 
composed of five appointed members and two ex- 
officio members, the mayor, and the superintendent 
of schools. 




The officers of the board shall be a president 
and a clerk. 

The president shall preside at all meetings of 
the board and shall appoint all standing com- 
mittees. The president shall have general super- 
vision of all matters pertaining to the library, 
except as otherwise provided by law or by 
these By-Laws, or by action of the board. The 
president has authority to countersign checks. 

The clerk shall keep a faithful record of the 
proceedings of the board, shall give due notice 
of all meetings, and shall perform such other 
duties as may properly belong to his office or be 
delegated to him by the president or by action 
of the board. The clerk has authority to sign 
checks for the payment of indebtedness when- 
ever authorized by the committee on finance. 



The regular meetings of the board shall be 
held on the second or third Thursday of each 
month at 4:00 P.M. in the main library building. 

Three appointed members shall constitute a 

The meeting in October shall be the annual 
meeting, at which the officers shall be elected, 
and the committees named by the president. 


The term of service of all committees shall 
be for one year. 

Special meetings may be called by the presi- 
dent upon the written request of three trustees; 
and 5 in the absence of the president, a special 
meeting shall be called at any time by the clerk, 
upon the written request of three trustees. 

In the absence of the president at any regular 
or special meeting^ the meeting shall be presided 
over by one of the trustees present,, who shall be 
chosen by the meeting for that purpose. In the 
absence of the clerk the meeting shall choose a 
temporary clerk. 



1. Reading of the minutes of the last meeting 
and action thereon. 

2. Report of librarian. 

3. Reports of committees. 

4. Unfinished business. 

5. New business. 



There shall be three standing committees of 
the board as follows : 

A committee on finance,, consisting of three 


A committee on books, consisting of two of 
the appointed members of the board of trustees 
and the librarian. 

A committee on buildings and grounds,, which 
shall consist of at least two appointed members 
of the board, and may, at the option of the presi- 
dent, include an ex-officio member. 

The committee on finance shall have super- 
vision of all moneys belonging to the library. 
It shall prepare and present to the board at 
the annual meeting in each year a statement for 
the annual budget, shall examine all vouchers 
and accounts and audit the same and shall 
suggest ways and means for increasing the in- 
come of the library. Whenever a bill has been 
audited the names of at least two members of the 
committee shall appear thereon. All moneys 
deposited with the city treasurer shall be paid 
out by order of the board after audit by the 
finance committee upon checks signed by the 
clerk or librarian and countersigned by the pres- 
ident, or by any member of the finance com- 
mittee. The finance committee shall at each 
monthly meeting present a statement of the 
financial condition of the board. 

The committee on books shall have charge of 
the selection, purchase, and binding of all books 
and periodicals, the arrangement and catalogu- 
ing of the same, the organization of work in the 
library and reading rooms and other details of 
the management of the library. 


The committee on buildings and grounds shall 
have charge of all matters relating to the repair, 

alteration, furnishing, heating, lighting and sani- 
tation of the buildings and care of the grounds. 
The chairman of the committee on buildings 
and grounds and the chairman of the com- 
mittee on finance shall have entire charge of 
the insuring of all library property. 



It shall be the duty of the librarian to have 
general charge of the library and of all its 
branches under the direction of the president 
and of the board. He shall certify to bills in- 
curred, make a monthly and annual report to 
the board and under the direction of the com- 
mittee on books he shall purchase books for 
the library. 

He shall be responsible to the board for the 
care of the library property and for the proper 
discharge of their duties by all employees. 

He shall, unless absent or incapacitated, at- 
tend all meetings of the board, except executive 



All gifts to the library, of either moneys or 
securities, shall be deposited in such bank as 


may be designated by the board and shall be 
subject to checks signed by officers of the board 
in the same manner as checks are drawn against 
the appropriated funds of the board in the reg- 
ular course of business. All gifts of property, 
other than moneys or securities, shall be held or 
disposed of as may be directed by the board. 



These By-Laws may be amended at any 
regular meeting of the board at which a quorum 
is present, by a unanimous vote of the members 
present. They may also be amended by a major- 
ity vote at a regular meeting, provided notice 
of the proposed amendment and of the language 
thereof, has been given at the last preceding 
regular meeting. 


By4aws suggested for public library boards. Library Occurrent, 2:211-13, 

June, 1911. 
CRAIG, EDMUND L. The organization and duties of a board of library trustees. 

A. L. A. Bulletin, 16:381-84, 1922. 

EARL, MRS. E. C. The trustee's opportunity in the community. Library Occur- 
rent, 6:238-39, April, 1922. 
ERRETT, MRS. A. W., JR. Getting the board of directors to work. Illinois 

Libraries, 3:3-8, January, 1921. 
GALLAGHER, M. F. Responsibility of the library trustee. Illinois Libraries, 

4:6-12, December, 1921. 
Good business methods for library trustees. New York Libraries, 8:72-73, 

May, 1922. 
HOOTER, ANNA F. Making a board meeting interesting. Public Libraries, 

29:163-66, April, 1924. (Abstract) 


INGRAM, ROENA. What the librarian can do to make the trustees' meeting 

profitable. Libraries, 32:133-35, March, 1927. 
JEWELL, AGNES. Ideal trustee from the librarian's point of view. Public 

Libraries, 26:240-43, May, 1921. 
The library and the city manager. Library Journal, 48:976, November 15, 

1923. (Also, in same volume, p. 94, and volume 40, p. 849-50.) 
Responsibility of the library board. New York Libraries, 7:5960, May, 1920. 
THOMSON, O. R. H. Financing the public library. Public Libraries, 3o=53i~33j 

December, 1925. 

The trustee and Ms library. 27 p. A. L. A., 1927. 
Trustees, committees and librarian: their duties and mutual relations. New 

York Libraries, 9:82-83, May, 1924. 
TWEEDELL, EDWARD D. The relations of the trustees and the librarian. Illinois 

Libraries, supplement, 7:94-97, October, 1925. 
UTLEY, GEORGE B. Function of a library trustee. Library Occurrent, 3:1011, 

December, 1911. 
WALTER, FRANK K. The relation of the library to the trustee. Library Journal, 

44:69498, November, 1919. 
WEAVER, MARY. How can librarians help to make board meetings interesting? 

Public Libraries, 29:166-67, April, 1924. 
ZWICK, G. L. Business methods and efficiency in the public library. Public 

Libraries, 29:396-98, October, 1924. 


UPON the board of trustees, primarily, rests 
the responsibility of securing sufficient money 
for the proper administration and develop- 
ment of the library. The librarian, however, shares 
this responsibility, because he has a large part in the 
planning and the execution of the library's program, 
and because adequate appropriations are not to be 
expected unless the administration of the library 
is efficient and successful. 

To achieve the best possible results with the avail- 
able resources; to win the confidence of the trustees, 
the city officials, and the public; and to quiet the op- 
position of the ever-present minority who are not in 
sympathy with tax-supported libraries, the librarian 
must be as well versed in the financial administration 
of a library as in its technical administration. He 
must be familiar with all the provisions of law con- 
cerning the support of public libraries and the ex- 
penditure of their funds. He must know all the sources 
of the library's income, and the amount derived 
from each source; the methods of apportionment of 
the funds, and the amount allotted for each item 
on the budget. He must be able to forecast the needs 
of the future, and be prepared to justify each year's 

4 8 


budget estimates on the basis of these needs and of 
preceding budgets. He should know how much mon- 
ey is allotted by the city to other departments and 
should know something of the needs and the plans of 
those departments, that he may know whether the 
library is receiving a just proportion of the city's 
revenue, and that he may not choose unpropitious 
times for urging extensive expansion of the library's 
service. For the same reasons, he should know the 
financial resources and prospects of the city: its 
bonded indebtedness, its tax rate, its method of 
assessment, and the relation between assessed value 
and market value. And on the basis of all this in- 
formation he should seek to advance the library's 
program in proportion to the ability of the commu- 
nity to supply the needed funds. 

Public libraries will probably never have entirely 
adequate financial support, because the demands 
upon them are always increasing. This is both na- 
tural and desirable 1 . Most libraries have only begun 
to do many of the important things for their com- 
munities which it is within their province to do, and 

1 "The present-day budget must do more than take care of the library wants 
now existent in any community. It must do more than pay the mere overhead 
expenses of existing buildings and replace wastage and loss by use. A library 
whose service and use does not expand more rapidly than the increase in pop- 
ulation in that community is a library that lacks vision whether the blame is 
the librarian's or the Board's or both. The library budget must be ample to 
help create new wants and to satisfy these new wants when so created." 
(Heffelfinger, J. B. "The library revenue how much and how to get it," in Public 
Libraries, 28:119, March, 1923.) 


which many other libraries are doing. The librarian, 
never fully satisfied with what has been accomplished, 
should keep his trustees informed concerning the 
need for additional activities, what they would cost, 
and what they would mean to the community. He 
must likewise keep before them the ever-growing 
needs of the current activities. He must see that the 
salaries are proportionate to the salaries paid for 
similar positions in other libraries, in order to keep 
his staff intact. He must be able to show the trustees 
and the city, when asking for increased funds, that his 
administration of the library is economical and effi- 
cient, and that it is not losing opportunities for serv- 
ice which are within its present power. 

Support from public funds 

The main income of practically all free public 
libraries consists of funds derived from taxation. 
These funds may be granted as an appropriation, 
made annually by the municipal authorities, or may 
be derived from a direct tax levy, in accordance with 
the method prescribed by the law of the state. 

If an annual appropriation is made, from public 
funds not otherwise appropriated, it is customary for 
the trustees to submit budget estimates each year, 
setting forth the needs of the library in itemized 
statements. Sometimes, but by no means always, the 
trustees are given an opportunity to appear before 
the appropriating body in support of their estimates. 


The amount appropriated, however, is determined by 
the municipal authorities; much time and energy are 
consumed in the preparation and presentation of the 
estimates, and In the endeavor to convince the neces- 
sary officials that the library needs the full amount 
requested; and the amount appropriated may be to 
some extent influenced by political considerations. 

For these reasons most librarians consider the di- 
rect tax levy preferable to the annual appropriation, 
In the states where the direct tax Is authorized, the 
law provides that municipalities may levy a tax for 
the establishment and maintenance of public libra- 
ries; usually a maximum is established, by specify- 
ing the number of mills or fractions of a mill, on each 
dollar of the assessed value of all taxable property, 
that may be levied for this purpose; In several states 
the law establishes also a minimum levy that shall 
be made for the support of all libraries established 
under the provisions of the law. Under the tax levy 
system, when the taxes are collected the specified pro- 
portion of the whole amount becomes available for 
the library. As the city grows and the valuation of 
property Increases, the library's income increases 

The precise amount of the levy, however, within 
the limits defined by the law, is determined by the 
municipal officers. Some librarians hold that public 
libraries cannot be put upon a sound financial basis 
until power is given to the board of library trustees to 


determine the amount of the levy for library pur- 
poses. 2 Such power is given in some states to the 
board of education. These librarians argue that the 
trustees are better informed than anyone else con- 
cerning the needs of the library and the opportuni- 
ties for extending its service; and that they are 
generally public-spirited citizens, who are interested 
in keeping taxes down, and are insistent on the com- 
munity's receiving full value for all money expended. 
"What is an adequate revenue for a public 
library?" is a question which is very frequently asked, 
but which cannot be easily answered. Many at- 
tempts have been made to devise a "measuring stick/' 
with which the expenditures and the service of one 
library may be accurately compared with the ex- 
penditures and the service of others. None of these 
attempts has been entirely successful, and no stand- 
ards or methods of comparison have yet received 
recognition as a final authority. Every library pre- 
sents many complications and varying conditions. 
There are., indeed, certain fundamental principles, 
for income and for service, which apply rather uni- 
formly to all libraries, large or small. We should 
learn to apply these principles so far as they are 
valid, and we shall often find comparisons helpful, 
but we must avoid drawing from them erroneous 
conclusions. It is impossible to construct any for- 
mula which will precisely evaluate the work of any 

2 In at least one state, Indiana, library boards do levy taxes. 


library, or indicate which of two libraries is the better. 
"... he who looks for any single criterion, no mat- 
ter how based or fortified, for estimating library 
service is as foolish as he who should attempt to 
gauge the character or achievements of a man by 
some one particular result or ability/' 3 

Probably the most generally accepted of all rec- 
ommendations as to what is an adequate revenue, is 
the recommendation made several years ago by the 
Committee on Library Revenue,, of the American 
Library Association and formally adopted by the 
Association. This expresses the belief that "one dol- 
lar per capita of the population of the community 
served is a reasonable minimum annual revenue for 
the library in a community desiring to maintain 
a good modern public library system with trained 
librarians." The Ontario Public Libraries Act of 
1920 provides that a library board may cause a tax 
to be levied at a rate that will yield fifty cents per 
capita of the population of the constituency to be 
served, and that the municipal council may increase 
the rate. Commenting on this act, W. O. Carson, 
the Provincial Inspector of Public Libraries of 
Ontario said: "We believe that our principle of tax- 
ation will stand the test of time, and that the libraries 
will advance in merit and the public will derive in- 
creasing benefit. It is our hope that our people will 
want library service far in advance of present-day 

8 Bostwlckj A. E. The American public library, p. 28. 


demands,, and that when a higher per capita income 
from taxation is required it shall be granted by our 
legislators with the same good will that characterized 
their attitude toward fifty cents per capita." 4 

In determining the proper amount of income for 
the library, it is helpful to study the classified dis- 
bursements of the local municipal budget. From 
these it may be learned just what proportions of the 
total amount raised by taxation go to each of the 
several civic objects which receive public money. 

These objects are classified as follows in the biennial 
reports giving financial statistics of cities^ issued by 
the United States Census Bureau: general govern- 
ment; protection to person and property; health and 
sanitation; highways; charities^ hospitals., and cor- 
rections; schools; libraries; recreation; miscellaneous. 
According to the report covering the fiscal year 1924, 
in all cities of the United States above 30^000 in pop- 
ulation the apportionment of municipal expenditures 
for these different objects was as follows: 5 

General government 8.5 per cent. 

Protection to person and property 19.9 per cent. 

Health and sanitation . 10.0 per cent. 

Highways 8.6 per cent. 

Charities, hospitals, and corrections 5.9 per cent. 

Schools 38.0 per cent. 

Libraries 1.2 per cent. 

Recreation 3.2 per cent. 

Miscellaneous 4.7 per cent. 

4 A. L. A. Bulletin, 15:126-28, July, 1921. 

5 Figures are taken from U. S. Census Bureau,, Financial statistics of cities 
having a population of over 30,000; 1924, Wash., 1926, p. 42. 


Thus in these communities libraries received, on 
an average, 14.1 per cent of the amount spent for 
local government; 6.03 per cent of the amount spent 
for fire and police protection; 12 per cent of the 
amount spent for health and sanitation; 13.9 per 
cent of the amount spent for highways; 20.3 per cent 
of the amount spent for charities, hospitals, and 
corrections; 3,1 per cent of the amount spent for 
schools; and 37.5 per cent of the amount spent for 

In some states the law provides that a certain 
amount of aid from state funds may be granted, 
through the library commission or the state library, 
to public libraries. This aid may take the form of a 
small sum given to any town establishing a free public 
library, or of an annual grant of a specified amount 
of money. The annual grant is usually conditional 
on the maintenance of a certain standard of service, 
and on the appropriation by the city or town of an 
amount, equal to the state's grant, for the purchase 
of books. "In no case has the subsidy been large 
enough to be of any material benefit or to act as 
a considerable incentive to library development, 
though it has perhaps had some little effect in giving 
the state library some authority over local institu- 
tions as the subsidy could be withheld in case the 
library did not reach a certain standard. . . state 
aid is only useful if sufficient in amount to be a real 
incentive. ... It ought logically to come with com- 


pulsory legislation for library establishment. . . the 
state has not reached the same point in its conception 
of responsibility for library development as it has for 
schools, but ... if the school analogy holds, com- 
pulsory laws and state subsidies will eventually 


Money received by the library > in the course of its 
daily work, from fines for overdue books, payment for 
lost or damaged books, and similar sources, is some- 
times retained by the library and used for such pur- 
poses as the trustees may direct; more often it is 
turned over to the city treasurer, monthly or at 
other regular times, and is credited to the library 
funds so that it is available as a supplement to the 
library's appropriations; in some cities, however, it 
is credited by the treasurer to the city's general 
funds, and is not available for library purposes unless 
by special appropriation. In cities where the library 
is maintained by annual appropriations, rather than 
by a fixed tax levy, the estimated receipts from fines 
and other sources are frequently taken into account 
by the city in making its appropriation. 

Endowment funds 

The demands made upon a progressive library, and 
the opportunities for constantly enlarging service, 
are always far in excess of the service which can be 

s HIrshberg, H. S. "The state's responsibility for library service" (see Ref- 
erences at end of chapter), p. 656. 


financed from public funds. Endowments, therefore, 
are always a welcome addition to the funds derived 
from taxation, and It Is desirable to keep this need 
before the public. Some of the large libraries. Indeed,, 
have frankly embarked on a policy of systematically 
seeking endowments., and also of inviting gifts of 
money in large or small amounts. In all such appeals 
It should be made clear that the increase of the 
library's revenue through gifts or endowments does 
not lessen the need for liberal support from the 
public funds. It Is desirable, too, In advertising the 
need of endowment, to suggest the exact form of 
bequest which should be used In order to ensure a 
proper execution of the testator's Intention. One of 
the safest methods of providing for the future 
through an endowment is to bequeath the money to 
the city or to the trustees of the library on condition 
that it be Invested, and that the Interest be devoted 
to the general needs of the library or to such specific 
purposes as the testator may desire to prescribe. 

The investment and the expenditure of endowment 
funds are usually determined by the trustees. Such 
Investments are generally limited by law to the pur- 
chase of guaranteed mortgages on real estate and the 
purchase of government, state, and municipal bonds 
and the bonds of certain public utility corporations. 
In making Investments, the trustees should, of course, 
secure the largest possible return consistent with 
safety, but safety Is vastly more important than the 


rate of interest. It is desirable to engage the services 
and secure the advice of an established, conservative 
investment firm, and to be guided very largely by 
this firm's advice. Local investments should not be 
favor ed, as a rule, unless, in the opinion of the finan- 
cial advisers, they appear quite equal to other se- 
curities in safety and in amount of return. Most 
boards very wisely make it a rule never to invest 
library money in any business or any property in 
which any trustee has a private interest. 7 

It may seem unnecessary to urge the importance of 
keeping all securities, and other valuable records and 
documents, in a safe deposit box, but experience with 
trustees of libraries in many small towns shows that 
this caution is necessary. 

The budget 

If the library receives its money from the city 
through annual appropriations, a more or less de- 
tailed budget is usually required by the appropriating 
body. The form of this budget, or statement of esti- 
mated receipts and expenses, will depend largely on 
the amount of detail required by the city, and on 
the classification of the library's receipts and ex- 
penditures adopted for the municipal accounting 
system. But regardless of the city's requirements, 
the library should be operated on a carefully planned 

7 As a corollary to this, we may add that the board should never purchase 
books, supplies, insurance, etc., from or through members of the board. 


system of budgeting. Each year the probable receipts 
of the coming year should be estimated as closely as 
possible, and a definite amount should be allotted for 
expenditures for salaries, books, building main- 
tenance, and all other items. Such procedure is re- 
quired in the interest of wise planning, efficient ad- 
ministration, and strict accountability. If the budget 
is carefully worked out and rigidly adhered to, with 
changes made by the trustees only as unforeseen cir- 
cumstances may necessitate, the possibility of spend- 
ing a disproportionate amount of money on any item 
will be avoided. 

If the library is dependent on annual appropria- 
tions from the city, the budget estimates first pre- 
pared may have to be revised to make the actual 
budget come within the amount granted. To "pad" 
the budget estimates, however, by asking for more 
than is expected and needed on the supposition that 
the full amount asked for will not be granted, is 
unethical and unsound, and contrary to the whole 
principle of the budget. No amounts should be 
asked for, for any item, that cannot be reasonably 
expected and conscientiously justified. 

The necessary first step in adoption of a budget 
system is the determination of the items which shall 
be separately recognized. For instance, shall books, 
periodicals, and binding occupy three places in the 
budget, or shall one item cover them all? Shall the 
salaries of the professional staff, the clerical force, 


and the building force be provided for separately, 
or combined under one item covering all salaries? 
Too many separate divisions may be a source of un- 
necessary intricacy, and may require frequent re- 
adjustment of the budget. On the other hand, if the 
items are too few the budget will fail in its purpose 
by not recording expenditures in sufficient detail to 
permit intelligent analysis. Many libraries have 
adopted the classification of receipts and expendi- 
tures given on the * 'Revised form for public library 
statistics" (Figure i) on which the American Library 
Association attempts every year to secure uniform 
statistics from as many libraries as possible. This 
course has much to commend it. The form is more 
nearly standard than any other; it was adopted after 
careful study by a committee, and is at least reason- 
ably successful in including the essential and omitting 
the unessential; its general adoption would bring us 
considerably nearer the long-sought goal of uniform- 
ity in statistics; and the data requested by the A. L. 
A. can be readily compiled from the library's official 
records if no reclassification is needed. 8 


In apportioning expenditures, standards are highly 
desirable, though a uniform, arbitrary standard that 
is applicable to all libraries is hardly a possibility. 

8 For a discussion of budget items and subdivisions consult Thomson, O. 
R.H. (see References at end of chapter), p. 15-17. 




COBMT ppropri*km 

State to 

MeanbermMp fees . .... ....... 

DipEete collectlwi 

Otb*r ftwsrro tif extraordinary, *asierate 
BXti state object* ) 


HaezpeB^ed Wbcace front pmriorai year... 




1. LzteKT Operalia X^cpcneea 



SeppBe*. ttiowBry. pxistiac. etc.... 
FttrnitsiT* qmpBt, te .......... 

Telephone, postage, .freisJct, ezpreas 

Totl i . ... 

Janitor*, meebaAtem. traces, etc...... 


CtautiB* svppBes moct eq^iment. . . . 
BwiHfcB* xp^ ad 4wsp j*m- 

Bent .... . . -,^.,... ,,...... 

Hat a4 Jiyist,. 

Otter iteassa 


ToUd BOwiBtexaMoe xp=ae 


y*w BwMfTnfp T -- -- ----- 

AiMifiow* to BttiMfracs-' " " T -Trt--i. 

Total expoase* 

Grand total 


A, L. A. Reused Form for PubEc Library Statistics Finance. 


In Reasonable budgets for public libraries (American 
Library Association, 1925), O. R. Howard Thomson 
recommends that the apportionment should be ap- 
proximately as follows, in a city of 30,000 population 
with a library revenue of one dollar per capita: 
Books (including periodicals and binding), 22 per 
cent; building charges, 13.6 per cent; stations ex- 
pense, 1.9 per cent; administrative and miscel- 
laneous, 5.2 per cent; salaries, 53.5 per cent; em- 
ergency, 3.8 per cent. The same writer adds: 
"Examination of reports of the actual expendi- 
tures in libraries in a large number of cities affords 
full warrant for the statement that the percentages of 
the total expenditures assigned to the various items 
of the budget suggested for a city of 30,000 popula- 
tion would hold good for the average free public cir- 
culating library in cities above 20,000 and below 
1,000,000 in population." 

The actual expenditures of the public libraries of 
New York State, as printed in New York Libraries, 
10:26 (November, 1925), compares rather closely with 
this apportionment: 


Salaries Books 

Cities over 20,000 population 58 1 8 

Cities and villages, 5,000-20,000 46 20 

Villages between 2,000 and 5,000 38.6 22 

Villages between 1,000 and 2,000 29 24 

Villages between 500 and 1,000 29 25.6 

Hamlets under 500 30 35 


Many of the state library commissions compile an- 
nual tables showing the percentage expenditures of 
the libraries of the state for salaries, books, and 
other items. In A survey of libraries in the United 
States (American Library Association, 1926-27, i: 
31-52) are given the highest ten and the lowest ten 
percentages, for libraries of four different groups ar- 
ranged according to number of volumes owned, spent 
for salaries, for books, periodicals and binding, and 
for general maintenance. From these sources, and 
from study of the printed reports of libraries, the 
librarian can gauge with some accuracy the prevail- 
ing standards. All such standards, however, are ap- 
proximate, for the statistics of most libraries can be 
intelligently interpreted only with full knowledge of 
local conditions and methods; and even with this 
knowledge, it Is difficult to make the changes that 
would be necessary to make the figures exactly com- 
parable with the figures of other libraries operating 
under different conditions and methods. 

In financial matters the affairs of the library 
should, of course, be handled In a businesslike man- 
ner in every respect. Bills should be paid promptly, 
that the library may have good financial standing, 
and may receive the benefit of all discounts and cred- 
its. All balances and temporary funds should be de- 
posited In a bank. As an institution of public service 
the library Is exempt from taxation, and the trustees 
should see that every exemption authorized by law Is 


granted, and that everything which is legally due the 
library, from the city, county, or state, is secured. 
Each year's income should be applied to immediate 
use, in the operation of present service, for the trus- 
tees have no moral right to deprive readers of to- 
day of what is justly theirs, to benefit readers of 


The financial transactions of the library necessarily 
involve close relations between the librarian and 
the trustees, and the municipal treasurer. When the 
funds derived from taxation become available, the 
treasurer will notify the trustees. The method by 
which the funds are to be disbursed is determined 
by the city, in accordance with its system of handling 
the funds of other departments. Some cities deposit 
the money allotted to the library in a designated 
bank, according to agreement, where it is subject to 
withdrawal by checks signed by authorized officials 
of the library. A more general practice is for the 
city treasurer to hold the funds, and to pay them out 
on the library's requisitions by warrants, or to pay 
the bills which are sent to him from the library with 
proper endorsement. 

The accounting method required of the library by 
the city depends on the method of disbursing the 
funds and on the method by which the funds are 
made available. If all bills are paid by the city 


treasurer the official accounts are naturally kept by 

him, and the form in which the library keeps its own 
accounts may be left to the discretion of the trustees; 
if the money is disbursed directly by the library, de- 
tailed accounts must,, of course, be given the city 
regularly, in whatever form may be required. If the 
appropriation is made by the city in a lump sum, or 
if the funds are derived from a specific library tax 
levy, it may not be required that the accounts be 
classified to show the amount spent for each item 
on the library's budget; but if the appropriation 
specifies a definite amount for each item, the ac- 
counts must be classified accordingly. However, re- 
gardless of what the municipal requirements may be, 
the library must keep its own financial records, for 
the information of the librarian and the trustees, if 
not for the city administration and the public. The 
classification of expenditures for accounting purposes 
should conform with the classification of the budget, 
for otherwise the budget would be valueless. 9 

Many libraries have endowment funds which are 
kept separate from all other funds. For all endow- 
ments separate accounts must be kept. If the ex- 
penditure of the income from any fund is restricted 
by the terms of the endowment to a specific purpose, 

3 If a certain classification is required by the city's accounting system, it 
may be necessary to make the budget's classification conform with the account- 
ing system. Hence it is not always possible to arrange the budget in the form 
which the librarian might prefer. 


it is desirable that the accounts should show for what 
purposes all purchases from the fund are made. 

The funds made available for the library from the 
municipality may be called "city funds'* or "general 
funds/' and should be accounted for in what may 
be called a general fund account. For the record of 
money received from fines, sale of publications, and 
other sources of an incidental nature, a 'petty cash 
account should be kept. And in order to have infor- 
mation at all times as to how the funds allotted in the 
budget are being spent, the librarian should keep an 
annual budget sheet. These records will furnish ready 
answers to a majority of the questions asked regard- 
ing financial transactions. 

Among other timesaving devices, accountants have 
developed a ledger divided into columns, so arranged 
in groups that all entries are automatically classified 
in the process of making them. By combining all 
accounts on one page 3 in the appropriate columns, 
compactness, simple segregation, and ready com- 
parison are provided. A columnar ledger of this kind 
is well adapted to the needs of libraries, and suitable 
forms may be obtained at reasonable prices from 
library supply houses. 

General fund account 

The simple columnar arrangement shown in Figure 
2 is adaptable to the general fund accounts of the 
smallest libraries, and its principle is adequate for 



1 i 


General Fund Account 
(Size of sheet, 1 1^x19 inches.) 


the largest libraries, with the addition of one or two 
supplemental ledgers. It serves practically all the 
needs of the average library, and can be recom- 
mended without reservation, whether the library 
makes direct payment of its bills or sends them to 
the city hall for payment. 

The left-hand page is devoted to the source of all 
income and receipts. The right-hand provides for 
expenditures. It is possible to enter items chronolog- 
ically, to indicate voucher numbers, etc., but the 
great advantage comes in the provision for immediate 
segregation of accounts according to the class to 
which each belongs. The space for receipts is ar- 
ranged in columns under these headings: date, 
voucher number, name of the person or firm involved 
in the transaction, balance, city appropriation, fees, 
fines, cash gifts, other sources, total receipts. Each 
entry is made in the column under the heading cor- 
responding to its nature, and the same amount is 
repeated in the column for totals. The addition of 
each column gives the total amount of income re- 
ceived from that particular source. The addition of 
the column headed "total receipts" gives the total 
of all the income from all sources, and this amount is, 
of course, equal to the sum of the totals of the other 

In the same manner the right-hand page is taken 
up with disbursements. The first column is for total 
disbursements, placed here to face immediately the 
last column on the opposite page, "total receipts." 


The other columns are headed: books; periodicals; 
binding; salaries, library; wages, janitor and extra 
help; water, heat, light; repairs, telephone; supplies; 
improvements and equipment; printing, publicity; 
postage, express, freight, cartage. In the first column, 
then, we put down the total amount of an expendi- 
ture, and repeat it in the column headed by the par- 
ticular subject under which the item should be segre- 
gated or classified. The total of the first column 
shows the gross amount expended, and the total of 
each of the other columns shows at a glance how 
much has been expended for any particular purpose. 
The sum of the totals of the classified columns is 
the same as the total column headed "total dis- 

The difference between the footings of total re- 
ceipts and those of total disbursements shows the 
balance. This Is carried forward and the account 
begun anew. It is a convenient practice to balance 
these accounts once a month and to check up with 
the bank and the city treasurer at the same time. 

Petty cash accotint 

Petty cash is the fund available for the use of the 
librarian to cover the great number of small Items 
of expense which come up every day. It Is essential 
that actual cash shall always be at hand for this 
purpose. The librarian cannot send an express mes- 
senger to the city hall to collect a charge for trans- 
portation of a small package, or for any of the other 


small items. To take care of this he draws out of the 
general funds ten or twenty-five dollars or more 3 ac- 
cording to the emergencies of the work, and with it 
creates a petty cash fund. As soon as it is depleted 
and needs to be replenished, the librarian turns over 
to the general fund his vouchers., which represent 
the actual cash he has paid out, and again draws a 
like amount to put back into the petty cash. In 
other words, the librarian always has in this fund 
either cash or receipted vouchers sufficient to make 
up the balance of the total amount. 

While it is the best practice to turn all cash re- 
ceived into the general fund and draw out of it as 
much as may be needed for petty cash, giving it 
proper credit for such a transfer^ a less" logical prac- 
tice is commonly followed by librarians. They put 
into the petty cash all fines, pay collection dues, de- 
posits on books, etc. The money received in this way 
is deposited in the bank frequently, and all payments 
of a dollar or more are made by check and the receipts 
filed. 10 Smaller payments are made by cash, and a 
receipt is secured and filed. At frequent intervals 
transfers are made from the petty cash to the general 
fund and proper records are made of the transaction. 

10 Experience makes painfully clear the need of a note of warning at this 
point. The deposits in the bank of the petty cash must be handled with the 
same exactness exercised with the general funds. It is a very dangerous prac- 
tice for the librarian to deposit this cash with his own personal bank account. 
It is well to use a different bank, if convenient, but at all events the account 
should stand in the name of the library. 


The petty cash account is exactly what its name im- 
plies., a record of small cash transactions. It is con- 
cerned with the record of the receipt of such items 
as fines, reserve book card deposits, lost or damaged 
books paid for by borrowers, new cards, and tele- 
phone calls. It records the expenditures for freight 
and express, postage, supplies, laundry, money re- 
turned to borrowers, and similar dealings. 

The standard form makes possible a complete rec- 
ord for a month on two pages opposite one another 
(Figure 3). The left page is devoted to receipts, and 
the right to disbursements. As in the general fund 
account, entries are made under proper headings 
and items are segregated at once when each is 
recorded. The total of the columns down the page 
gives the amount received for each separate source of 
income and of expenditure. The addition across the 
page gives the total receipts and disbursements for 
that day. Provision is made for balancing the ac- 
count once a month. 

Budget Sheet 

The principle of budgeting library incomes is well 
established. It is important that, after estimated 
budgets have been set up and an outline of probable 
expenditures determined, accounts should be so kept 
that the itemized record will show at a glance the 
exact status of any given budget amount, and make 
clear what amounts will be reasonable for request in 






t*j- (f~ 


"3*ii frtyT-*? 


i ^^ 



Clsssifld totals for the Month 

sified totals brouphi forward 

ClMafija|_*taI^ Ho date\ earned forward 














FIGURE 3. Petty Cash Account. 

Account for Month of 





(Size of sheet 11^x19 inches.) 




next year's budget based on 
this year's experience. It is 
true that this can be deter- 
mined with a little figuring 
from the general fund ac- 
count. However, it is of 
enough importance, and suf- 
ficient convenience, to keep 
a record of this by itself. 

A satisfactory form,, avail- 
able in print, covers the 
needs of one year on a single 
sheet (Figure 4). Spaces 
down the page for each 
month in the year are ar- 
ranged in columns under the 
usual headings : binding, 
books, heat, janitor service, 
light, periodicals, perma- 
nent improvements, post- 
age, printing, salaries, sup- 
plies, telephone, etc. The 
space for each month is di- 
vided into two parts. At 
the beginning of the year 
the total allotment for each 
item is entered below the 
appropriate heading in red 
ink. Each month the actual 

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reCO lf n e^Ty2ar, th actuar e x C penses are recorded in space under the estimated amount; J 
^ and balance line shows the accuracy of eatimated budget. It Is not rood business to be 
always running over the annual appropriation, and. therefore wise to keep a well balanded 
budget, Couriesy of Demco Libra 

FIGURE 4. Annual Budget Account, (Size of sheet 10 x 15^4 in.) 









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total expenditure for the month is entered under 
each heading. The amount of the expenditure is 
subtracted from the budget allowance and the dif- 
ference is listed in the column marked "Balance/' 
The following month the expenditure for that month 

Springfield, EL,. 



TO Tfohn & TTnth D T. 

. , _ 

Tnvoic* Book* tf T i 





Ert. II 31 




* N. B. 1 49 




S. B. 






, n full of above account. 

Please sign here 

Voucher made out for bills. 

is entered and subtracted from the previous balance, 
and so on to the end of the year. The amount in the 
last balance column shows the current amount avail- 
able, exclusive of any outstanding orders against this 
item. At the extreme right of the sheet is a column, 
in which is entered each month the total expenditures 
of all Items for that month. At the close of the year 


the total amount paid for each item is entered at the 
bottom of the column. The sum of these totals should 
be the same as the total of the column at the extreme 
right of the sheet. 


Springfield, lUinois 



.413.93 . 


Voucher (reverse of Figure 6) Informing city treasurer as to distribution of 


Some librarians establish a convention that a small 
variation from the allotted figures shall be inserted 





Year Committee an BOOkfi 

to -which VMS referred Smdry dam*, having h*d the same under consideration, be* leave to report and 
recommend their allowance d payment as follows, t*-wit: 



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Co* Books 






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Report adopted aad dainui 

Report of the Trustee Committee on expenditures for month. 

in black ink 3 while a variation of ten per cent or 
more is entered in green ink, if it is an increase, and 
in red ink if it is a decrease. A glance at the page 
shows how each allotment is being expended. If the 
page shows large black spaces it means that the 


budget as planned is being carried out pretty closely. 
Much red ink indicates that a general tendency to- 
ward lower figures exists, while much green ink 
shows that expenditure is generally higher than was 
expected. In either case further investigation will be 

Payment of bills 

For simplicity and brevity, and for showing at the 

same time as completely as possible the different 
steps in the routine connected with the handling of 
bills, their payment and their accounting, I have 
chosen the system as worked out in the Lincoln 
Library, Springfield, Illinois. 11 This system gives 
satisfaction, for it is a practical working scheme, 
without too much paper work and detail and yet 
adequate to the library's needs. It is typical of that 
in force in many places, and it is not only adaptable 
to this particular class of medium-sized libraries, but, 
with certain slight modifications, is suitable for 
smaller and larger libraries. 




1. Bills checked with books as received. Fig. 5. 

2, Bills placed in temporary bill file. Entered on General Fund Account 


u The Lincoln Library, Springield, Illinois (Martha Wilson, librarian), is a 
free, tax-supported public library; income $ 62.393; book collection 97^26; 
registered borrowers 21,000; circulation 360,000; staff" 17; two branches and 22 



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3. At time of monthly board meeting, voucher is made for each bill, or 

group of biEs from one firm, and bill or bills enclosed. (Figs. 6 and 7.) 

4. Bills of one kind, e.g., Books, are grouped and listed on a Committee 

report. (Fig. 8.) 

5. At board meeting, committee members sign committee reports and 

verify bills. (Fig. 8.) 

6. President and secretary sign warrants. (Fig. 9.) 

7. The treasurer's report for month preceding is approved. (Fig. 10.) 

8. Petty Cash report is approved. (Fig. n.) 

9. Following the meeting, the warrants are filled In for each firm. 

10. Bills are marked with numbers of the warrant and filed in safe. 

11. Voucher and warrant are sent to city treasurer. 

12. City treasurer keeps warrant, sends city check back with voucher. 

13. Voucher and check are mailed to firms. 

14. When receipted voucher comes back it is placed around bills in the file. 

15. Treasurer's report is made up from warrant stubs (verified with 

vouchers) for the next meeting. 


Each department has change funds for fines. 
Lincoln Library $3.00, plus Ji.oo for postals. 
Children's department $2.00. 
North Branch $2.00. 
South Branch | 

Desk receipts 

1. Fines as received are entered on fine cards. Separate column for renta 


2. Non-resident fees, as received, are noted on slip name, residence, 

number of card, amount of payment, to what date, money attached 
to slip. 

3. Payments for lost books are attached to book card. 

4. Payments for reserve postals are dropped In postal card box. 

5. Petty cash is counted at 6 P.M. All over change allowance is noted on a 

slip. Money put in bag in safe. Counted again at 9 P.M. and amount 

6. Change box and all payments put in safe at g P.M. 

7. Each morning change is counted, verified with fine card. 

8. All surplus entered on Petty Cash sheet under proper heading: Fines, 

rental, non-resident, etc. 
Money is banked as often as accumulation requires, at least three times 

a week. 
Change fund kept In safe. 



Petty cash is used for payment of freight and express, telephone, building 

and desk supplies, small book bills (or large book bills at times to balance gifts 
or money received from waste paper sales), Sunday service of staff., additional 

or Irregular page or janitorial service., and miscellaneous items. 

Items entered daily 

1. Receipt showing article purchased taken for every item however small. 

2. Item entered on Petty Cash sheet under appropriate heading. "Cash" 


3. Items over f i.oo paid by bank check. 

4. Item entered on Petty Cash sheet, under its appropriate heading, name 

of person, number of check. 

5. Check sent with bill to payee with request for receipt. 

6. Receipted bill filed in Petty Cash receipts. 

7. Petty Cash balance in safe verified daily. 

8. Monthly bank statements and canceled checks, verified with Petty 

Cash sheets. 

9. Monthly Petty Cash report prepared for Library Board meeting. 
10. Monthly Petty Cash sheets and receipts for the month filed. 


M. WILSON, Treas. 

1927 Da. 

April i Cash in City Treasury ..................... $205772.24 

Received from City taxes. .................. 13,360.32 


April i Library operating expenses 

Paid: (L. L.) 
Staff salaries ........ . ........... $i 3 26o.c8 

Books .......................... 503-05 

Binding ....... . ................ 31.55 

Desk supplies. .................. 1.20 

Building maintenance 
Janitors* wages .................. 1197.50 

Light and heat .................. 295.82 

Building supplies ............. ... 16.00 

Cleaning supplies ................ 16.62 

Salaries .......................... $145.00 

Books ............................ 25.00 

Car upkeep ....................... *5-9& 

North Branch 
Salaries .......................... 1112.50 

Books ............................ 6.14 

Heat, light and water. .... ......... 17.14 

Rent (3 months) .................. 150.03 _ 

South Branch 
Salaries .......................... $ 98.85 

Books. ... ........................ 41.08 

Desk supplies ........ .... ......... 4.45 

Equipment ....................... 65.02 

Heat, Eght and water. ... .......... 45-95 

Rent (3 months) ................. . 255.00 _ 


May i To Cash in City Treasury ............................ $30,828.65 


Treasurer's report submitted to the trustees covering General Funds for 
the previous month. 



In account with Lincoln Library 
1927 DR. 

April i To cash on hand . 408.17 

April 30 To cash collections: Fines (L.L.) I 94-93 

Fines (N.B.) 22.00 

Fines (S.B.) 11.50 

Rental Books. . , 5.02 

Sales (Books and Papers) 10.77 

Losses and Damages (L.L.) 5.27 

Losses and Damages (N.B.) 2,83 

Losses and Damages (S.B.) 1.05 

Non-resident (L.L.) IO -75 

Non-resident (S.B.) .50 

April 30 Paid: CR. 

Lincoln Library: Library operating expenses 

Staff salaries $44-45 

Supplies 6.78 

Telephone., postage, freight and express. . 17.37 

Books , 9.02 

Periodicals 4.60 

Binding 3.00 

"Building maintenance 

Janitors 24.00 

Building supplies 13-78 

Laundry 4,00 

Extension: Library operating expenses 

Books (Hospital) $24.00 


North Branch: Library operating expenses 

Telephone , $5-75 

BuiMing maintenance 

Janitors 23.00 

Heat , 1.50 


South Branch: Library operating expenses 

Telephone $6.75 

Periodicals 2.00 

Building maintenance 

Janitors 47 ,oo 

Heat 3.25 


May i, 1927 Cash on hand $432.54 


librarian's report of Petty Cash submitted to the trustees covering the 
month prior to the meeting. 




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Payroll (Outside of voucher.) 


MARCH I, 1926 FEBRUARY 28, 1927 


Cash in City Treasury, March I, 1926 . . $18,98 5.73 

Receipts from City taxes 49,009.58 

Cash on hand, March I, 1926 640.52 

Petty cash receipts 2,934.60 

Total $71,570.43 

Library operating expenses 

Salaries, staff 115,619.15 

Books 9,246.03 

' Periodicals 720.88 

Pictures 84.61 

Binding 984.39 

Equipment 2,471.55 

Supplies, stationery, printing 802.99 

Telephone, postage, freight, and express . . 347.41 

Insurance and audit 635.16 

Refunds 7.04 

Miscellaneous 276.44 

Euilding maintenance 

Janitors' wages 2,636.75 

Cleaning supplies and equipment, laundry. 284,81 

Building repairs 8*977-57 

Heat and light 2,504.76 


Salaries .$ 1,730.00 

Books 2,759.94 

Binding 252.60 

Car upkeep. 217.39 

Supplies 6.50 

North Branch 

Salaries, books, rent, equipment and supplies $ 3,108.24 

South Branch 

Salaries, books, rent, equipment and supplies 6,940.53 

Total disbursements 160,614.74 

Cash in City Treasury, March i, 1927 10,621.77 

Cash on hand, March I, 1927 333.92 



Annual financial statement, complete 





Payments for 

1. Library operating expenses 

librarians* salaries $19,197.43 

Books and pictures 12,470.56 

Periodicals 817.28 

Binding. 1,236.99 

Supplies, stationery, printing 846.33 

Furniture, equipment (N.B.) 24.85 

Telephone, postage, freight, express 439- 21 

Other items 550.86 

Total ftSiSfy-S 1 

2. SuiMing operating expenses 

Janitors', mechanics* wages 2,971.80 

Cleaning supplies and equipment 322.48 

Building repairs and minor alterations 

Rent 940-00 

Heat and light 2,797.84 

Insurance 796.46 

Other items 

Total $ 7,828.58 

3. Exfraordinarj expenses 


Equipment and supplies (South Branch) 2,254.92 

L. L. Repairs and equipment. 11,449.12 

South Branch Books and periodicals 3,498.61 


fatal expenditures f $60,614.74 

Annual Financial Statement in form for A. L. A. Report 



BAILEY, ARTHUR L. Budget studies. Library Journal, 48:211-15, March I, 

BOWERMAN, GEORGE F. Twenty-seventh annual report of the librarian of the 

Public Library of the District of Columbia. 
Fines for lost, abused or overdue books. New York Libraries, 8:82-84, May, 

HAMILTON, WILLIAM J. Should public library boards have the power to levy 

the library tax? A. L. A. Bulletin, 15:130-33, July, 1921. 
HENRY, WILLIAM E. Where shall the burden rest? library Journal, 46:842-44, 

Oct. 15, 1921. 
HIRSHBERG, HERBERT S. The state's responsibility for library service. Library 

Journal, 48:653-59, August, 1923. 
Increasing the appropriation for the public library. Wilson Bulletin, 2:227-36, 

248-49, May, June, 1924, 
Library Revenues: resolution adopted by the Council of the American Library 

Association, Dec. 29, 1921. A. L. A. Bulletin, 16:11, January, 1922. 
MERRILL, JULIA W. Adequate library revenues. Wisconsin Library Bulletin, 

18:40-41, February, 1922; the library appropriation and budget. Wisconsin 

library Bulletin, 16:147-52, October, 1920. 
Minimum income needed for proper library support. New York Libraries, 

8:69-71, May, 1922. 
NIND, MARJORIE E. How American cities spent their incomes. Library Jour- 

nal, 51:81-82, Jan. 15, 1926. 
Per capita library tax in leading American cities. New York Libraries, 8:59, 

February, 1922. 

Percentage of library expenditures. Illinois Libraries, 7:35, July, 1925. 
Proper apportionment of library income to different items of expense. New 

York libraries, 8:177-78, February, 1923. 
Proper percentage of total municipal appropriations to be expected by public 

Hbrary and proper ratio between appropriations for schools and the 

library. Wisconsin library Bulletin, 21:95-97, April, 1925. 
RANCK, SAMUEL H. Sources and responsibilities for public library revenues. 

Library Journal, 46:103-10, February I, 1921. 
Survey of libraries in the United States. 4 vok. A. L. A., 1926-27. (Volume i, 

chapter 2, on Statistics of expenditure and use: public libraries.) 
THOMSON, O. R. HOWARD. Reasonable budgets for public libraries and their 

units of expense. A. L. A., 1925. 
WHEELER, JOSEPH L. The library and the community. A. L. A., 1924. (Chap- 

ter 14, on Publicity about organization, methods, and finances.) 
WYNKOOP, ASA. Adequate state aid for libraries: A plea. library Journal, 

45:70-71, January 15, 1920. Better library support: Some facts and argu- 

ments to be used New York libraries, 9:204-05, May, 1925. 

Purchase of Books and Supplies 

IN the endeavor to carry on the work of the library 
with funds which are inadequate to meet the ever- 
increasing demand for service, the book fund is 
often made to carry the burden of balancing the 
budget., and is fixed at whatever amount of the 
library's income is left after provision has been made 
for all other items. This is not done deliberately., or 
by choice,, but because of the exigencies of the situa- 
tion. Fuel, light,, janitor service, rent, or upkeep of 
buildings, and most other Items on the budget, are 
fixed charges, which cannot be eliminated or reduced. 
Salaries, constituting usually more than half of the 
budget, are virtually fixed, for in every library there 
Is an Irreducible minimum for the number of people 
who must be employed and the salaries which must 
be paid to keep them. Apparently the only place 
where a cut can be made Is the book fund. 

Such a policy, If long persisted in, is suicidal. It 
means that the library is not operating within its 
Income, but Is gradually exhausting its capital. Like a 
railroad which falls to keep up its rolling stock, or a 
factory which has not replaced worn machinery and 
installed Improved equipment, the library which fol- 
lows this policy for even a few years will find its book 



stock so depleted that adequate service to the com- 
munity is no longer possible. However, because a 
certain amount of retrenchment is always a neces- 
sity, it is essential that the librarian have a well-de- 
fined policy of selection, based on knowledge of the 
library's collection and intelligent understanding of 
the needs of the community. Second only to this in 
importance is an intimate knowledge of the book 
market, of where and how to buy to the best advan- 
tage, and the exercise of wise economy in all pur- 

Book selection 

The librarian must remember that it is his privilege 
to build up the book resources of a library which is 
designed to serve the entire community. Let him be 
mindful of the responsibility this places upon him. 
He cannot be conscientious in the performance of the 
duty unless he gives it an adequate proportion of his 
time and thought. A definite part of his scheduled 
time should be set apart, to be devoted to the se- 
lection of books. This should be made a part of his 
regular daily routine, and should not be left without 
plan to be crowded into some corner of time at the 
fag end of the day. 

The principles and the methods of book selection 
need not be discussed here, for they are not, strictly 
speaking, matters of administration, and they are 
adequately treated in other books. A few guiding 


principles may, however^ be mentioned. The library's 
policy must be positive. The librarian and the 
trustees should be open-minded enough to recognize 
all needs and legitimate requests, but should not 
yield to popular demand for books* that are extremely 
mediocre, worthless, or injurious. The book collec- 
tion should serve as a means of increasing systematic 
knowledge in the community. To attempt complete- 
ness is unwise; specialization should be determined 
by the specific interests and needs of the community. 
The books must be selected with tolerance for all 
opinions. Gifts may be accepted, but as a general 
thing only if offered without encumbering conditions. 
The book collection should be kept free of obsolete 
and unused material. 

Knowledge of the community 

In order to understand the needs of the people, 
the librarian should be familiar with the mind, spirit, 
and dominant interests of the community. He must 
know the history of the city, its traditions and 
general characteristics: its political tendencies and 
alignments; its educational ideals and standards; its 
religious characteristics, whether conservative or 
liberal; its economic conditions, the average of wealth, 
amount of leisure, class relations and social distinc- 
tions. Without this knowledge, he is not in a position 
to spend money wisely in the purchase of books for 
the public. 


This means that the librarian must go beyond the 
library walls, and establish as many first-hand con- 
tacts as possible with the various elements of the 
community. He must become acquainted with all 
the different groups and interests of the city: its 
leading industries; educational institutions; the 
chamber of commerce and other civic organizations; 
racial groups; political organizations and their lead- 
ers; recreations and amusements, and the people 
identified with them; the newspapers, and their at- 
titude toward the library; and all the facilities for 
reading supplied by agencies apart from the public 
library. It is not enough to know the public over the 
library's charging desk, for the whole community 
cannot be measured by the small cross-section of it 
which comes regularly to the library. 

Knowledge of the book market 

Apart from wise selection, the two fundamental 
factors in successful buying are economy and speed, 
and it is the librarian's duty to obtain as liberal dis- 
counts as possible, combined with quick and satis- 
factory service in filling orders. Many dealers, and 
some publishers, grant libraries discounts of 25 per 
cent on new books, the amount depending somewhat 
on the amount of the library's business and the con- 
venience with which its orders can be handled. 
Fiction, juveniles^ and popular non-fiction are the 
classes in which the best discounts are obtainable. 


The discount allowed on scientific and technical 
books is usually small. Some publishers prefer not to 
sell to libraries direct, but to deal through jobbers. 

It is very frequently urged that a local dealer 
should be given the library's business. If any local 
store has facilities to handle the business satisfac- 
torily, and can give as good discounts as the out-of- 
town jobber, it may well be given the preference, but 
except in the large cities few stores can do this. It 
is not good practice to ask for competitive bids on all 
orders, but in choosing a new dealer it is wise to ask 
for bids from several firms of high standing; or, better 
still, to ask these firms to quote their regular library 
discounts on current fiction, current non-fiction listed 
as net, current non-fiction not listed as net, and on 
children's books. Having thus chosen a reliable 
dealer, from whom good service and good discounts 
can be obtained, it is well to give all orders for current 
books to him, and not to make a change until there 
is good reason for so doing. 

The practice of having books sent on approval 
should be very largely confined to specific books 
which are under consideration, which it does not 
seem desirable to purchase without personal exam- 
ination. To have large numbers of books sent by a 
dealer on approval, several times a year, is a practice 
which makes it difficult to carry out the established 
policies in selection; it becomes a matter of trying to 
fit books at hand to the library's needs, rather than 


following a constructive plan for meeting those needs 
by careful selection. For the same reason, the ad- 
vantages of being able to look over advance copies of 
new books, shown by publishers* trade representa- 
tives, are likely to be more than balanced by the dis- 
advantages. And it may well be made an unalterable 
rule never to buy of a traveling book agent, or even 
to waste time by examining his books. Books so 
offered are usually subscription works, compiled or 
written for purely commercial purposes. Even if they 
are not altogether valueless for library purposes, it will 
usually be found that whatever important material 
they contain is already available in the library, or can 
be procured, in more desirable form and at lower cost. 

A number of reputable dealers handle book re- 
mainders, and from their lists may be obtained many 
books, within a few years after their publication, at a 
very liberal reduction from the original price. Cer- 
tain other dealers specialize in standard works of 
reference, at reduced prices. Popular fiction, and 
occasional books of non-fiction can be obtained from 
several firms in reinforced bindings, at prices only 
slightly higher than the prices for the publishers* 
bindings. Many standard books of fiction, and much 
of the popular fiction of recent years, can be advan- 
tageously bought in reprint editions, at less than half 
the prices of the original editions. 

The second-hand market should be utilized when 
seeking books which are out of print, and also for 


many replacements and occasional expensive books. 
Lists of out-of-print books or other books wanted 
second-hand may be sent to second-hand dealers, 
with instructions to quote prices on any they are 
able to supply, and want ads may be inserted in the 
Publishers Weekly. 

Importation of books 

It frequently happens that the English edition of 
a book which is published in both countries, is con- 
siderably cheaper than the American edition. If the 
book is needed at once, it will be necessary to place 
the order for the American edition, but if a slight 
delay is of no consequence it may be profitable to 
import the English edition. Orders should be placed 
with dealers in England, not with the individual 
publishers or with American agents. Importation by 
parcel post is simpler than by freight. The laws of 
the United States allow the importation, on one in- 
voice, of one copy of any authorized edition of a 
book in English, even if it has American copyright, 
when the book is imported for use by a public library, 
and not for sale; additional copies, if needed, can be 
imported on subsequent invoices. Bills may be con- 
veniently paid by international money orders or by a 
draft or money order of the American Railway Ex- 
press Company. 

It is necessary for the librarian to execute an oath 
before a notary public, preliminary to free entry for 


each shipment, declaring that the books are Imported 
for the use of the library and not for sale. (Figure 
15.) The dealer or agent makes oath on the same 
form that the books are shipped solely for the use of 


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tlat tfea said artiriaa, nix: _ 

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Bucked to>dm me 

Declaration of free entry of books ordered. 

the library. In addition, a receipt for every shipment 
must be filed within ninety days of entry. (Figure 16.) 
Neither oaths nor certificates are required for books 
in foreign languages or for books in English more 
than twenty years old, but for dictionaries and works 


consisting of plates without text or with index only, 
which are considered dutiable at the regular rate, 
papers are required for free entry for libraries. 

Economies in book buying 

Books which are demanded by immediate needs 
should be purchased as soon as possible after publi- 

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A.MJU 3M-m, C X , 

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C. , JUss. 59- It 


Vutted ^iatss Customs' ^truia^ 

^ deJitre&y certify thai l 

in. <% ffafo e/ , , an& that the. foUmeing articles, vis.' , 

.. cowered ty entry Jfo m 

aund &a ikemme are intended te be retooled, as the permanent property rfsuiM.^ . ., 1L1 . _^-,^ .. ,._, 4 _^- 1J1 ,_. 


Certificate of books received on free entry. 

cation^ unless so expensive that the library must do 
without them. Among these are scientific and tech- 
nological books which in a few years will be super- 
seded by later editions or by other books, and books 
which are of interest in connection with certain pass- 
ing events. Many books of ephemeral interest, how- 


ever, are of so little value that the library will lose 
little If It does not get them at all. Many expensive 
books of permanent value are likely to be obtainable 
within a year or two as "remainders/' and, unless 
there is a very heavy demand for them while new, 
their purchase may well be deferred. Good judgment 
Is necessary In deciding for or against the Immediate 
purchase of such books. 

The number of probable readers of an expensive 
book must also be taken into consideration. Many 
libraries have on their shelves large numbers of ex- 
pensive works which have been read by only a very 
few borrowers, some of whom could probably have 
well afforded to buy the books for themselves. In one 
small library an examination of about twenty of its 
"best" books, the average cost of which must have 
been more than three dollars, showed an average cir- 
culation of two and one-half Issues; hence more than 
one dollar had been spent for every time any of these 
books had been borrowed. It was clear that the 
books had been purchased without proper consid- 
eration of the need or want they would fill. Every 
library, of course, must have some books which are 
Important for reference purposes, though few people 
may care to read them through. It Is true, too, that 
the library must keep a little ahead of the present 
demand If it Is to exercise any real, educational lead- 
ership. For the library with a small income, how- 
ever, it Is usually not justifiable to buy very expen- 


slve books which in all probability will be read by 
few of its borrowers. 

It is no better economy to buy books merely be- 
cause they are cheap, than it is to buy articles in a 
bargain basement merely because they are marked 
down in price. If a hundred remainders are bought 
at fifteen cents a volume, and the books are not used, 
the transaction is an expensive one. It must be re- 
membered that to the initial cost of the books must 
be added the cost of cataloging and preparing them 
for the shelves, and the cost of housing them. It is 
impossible to measure accurately the value of book 
service to individual borrowers or to the public at 
large, but in order to make a good return to the com- 
munity for the money spent the librarian must en- 
deavor to obtain a use of the books which is fairly 
proportioned to the expenditure. 

In the purchase of popular books, a considerable 
saving of time may often be effected if the number of 
duplicate copies which will probably be needed are 
purchased at one time, for the time required for 
accessioning, shelf listing, etc., will be much less 
than if the copies are bought one at a time. 

Advantage should be taken of every opportunity 
to acquire useful material free or at nominal cost. 
On a great many subjects some of the best material 
which is available in print may be thus obtained, 
from the national government, from state depart- 
ments, or from various institutions and associations. 


"Some striking examples have recently been given 
In the order department of the State Library of the 
astonishing indifference of small libraries to oppor- 
tunities for securing valuable material without cost, 
presented from time to time In the columns of New 
York Libraries. Of the 650 libraries In the State to 
which this bulletin regularly goes. It is rarely that as 
many as one-half apply for such material, no matter 
how valuable or attractive it may be. The most 
striking example, perhaps, was the wonderful set of 
books Issued by the State Museum, Wild flowers of 
New York. This work, for which individuals had to 
pay $7.50, was described and offered free to registered 
libraries in this State, in New York Libraries In the 
November Issue following its publication. At the 
end of about 3 months after this offer was published, 
only eighty-one libraries had applied for it. To make 
sure the offer should become known to all libraries, 
a special letter was then sent to all which had not 
made application, and In response to this eighty-six 
additional requests came, making up to June of the 
following year only 175 applications in all. If this 
could happen In the case of such a monumental 
work as this, one can well appreciate how Indifferent 
and lethargic the average small library Is to the less 
showy and appealing but Immensely valuable mate- 
rial offered free by the United States Government and 
various state institutions and departments." 1 

i New York libraries, g& 9 November, 1923. 


For the small library, particularly where neither 
time nor skill is available for the expert care of books, 
it is desirable to buy most of the current fiction and 
children's books in reinforced bindings. The initial 
cost will be perhaps 15 or 20 per cent more than 
would be paid for the same books in the regular bind- 
ing, but for the small additional cost the library will 
receive at least 100 per cent more service from the 

Pay collection 

As a matter of economy and as a means of in- 
creasing the library's resources without diminishing 
the appropriation, every library administrator prob- 
ably has to face the problem of the pay collection. 
This is composed of popular books (mainly, and in 
most libraries entirely, recent works of fiction), pur- 
chased with funds other than those derived from 
taxation, which are rented to borrowers at a spe- 
cified rate per day or per week. The object of the pay 
collection is to enable borrowers, who are willing to 
pay a small rental fee, to obtain new and popular 
titles sooner than they could get them if dependent 
on the number of copies which the library can afford 
to buy from its regular book fund. 

The plan is usually adopted with a strict under- 
standing that all books placed in the pay collection 
shall be duplicates of books on the regular shelves. 
Usually, too, it is understood that as soon as pay 


collection books have paid for themselves in rental 
receipts, they shall be transferred to the regular col- 
lection. But it is soon found that the object of the 
pay collection,, the increase in the supply of new 
books which are in great demand, can be more fully 
attained by disregarding the duplicate feature, and 
including in the collection some titles which are not 
available free. This is a policy which has some ardent 
advocates, and equally earnest opponents, for many 
insist that it is not justifiable to have certain books 
which can be obtained only by paying a rental fee, 
and that the general collection should have copies of 
the same books which can be borrowed without a 
fee. 2 A departure from this principle seems un- 
necessary and unwise. The whole policy of a pay col- 
lection is one not to be lightly adopted. To some it 
seems to present more dangers than it is worth, 
especially in these days of numerous circulating libra- 
ries in book stores and drugstores; certainly the 
"duplicate" principle ought not to be abandoned 
without careful consideration. 

Discards and replacements 

Dead material on the shelves is a poor asset, and 
should be discarded and replaced by material of live 
interest. Yet a note of warning needs to be sounded, 
perhaps, against thoughtless discarding. Maturity of 
judgment and knowledge gained from practical ex- 

2 New York Libraries, 9:194-98, May, 1925. 


perlence are required, in order to forecast with any 
degree of certainty the future need for a book which 
has passed the stage of early popularity. When in 
doubt, one may remove from the public shelves 
books which seem to have outlived their usefulness, 
but complete discarding may be deferred until the 
final decision can be made with more certainty. 

It is essential that the librarian shall have at hand 
proper bibliographic information concerning editions, 
publishers, and prices, that he may buy intelligently 
such non-current publications as may be needed to 
strengthen the library's resources on subjects of in- 
terest, and that he may make wise decisions in regard 
to replacements. For standard works and classics a 
number of editions may be available and it is nec- 
essary to know which edition is best suited to the 
library's needs, in regard to accuracy of the text, ful- 
ness and value of notes and introduction, illustra- 
tions, size of type, and binding. In buying books on 
a certain subject, the qualifications of the author and 
the reputation of the publisher must be taken into 
consideration, and, very often, the date of publi- 
cation, the extensiveness of treatment, the style iii 
which written, the cost, and other points. Instead 
of replacing with a duplicate copy a book which has 
been lost, it will often be found better to buy a later 
work on the same subject, perhaps by another 
author. It is a mistaken policy to continue to pur- 
chase a book merely because it has been useful in the 


past, without careful investigation to learn whether 
there is now another book which would be more 

Most librarians are very cautious about replacing 
fiction., apart from books so recent that they have 
not yet outlived the active demand for them, and the 
standard novels which have survived the test of 
time. The A. L. A. catalog 1926 is an invaluable aid, 
both in making original purchases and in making 


It is the general custom among librarians to place 
the annual order for magazines published in the 
United States and in Canada with some American 
subscription agency, and the order for foreign period- 
icals with an importer, who receives them from 
abroad and forwards them to the library from his 
American office. Sometimes a slight saving may be 
made by sending the subscriptions for certain maga- 
zines or newspapers directly to the publishers, but 
it is usually an economy, and always much more con- 
venient, to place all subscriptions through one agent, 
and to continue with the same agency as long as its 
service is satisfactory. The agent, if he gives the 
right kind of service, can save time and money for 
the library by caring for the perplexing difficulties 
arising from changes of name, size, expiration date, 
or price ? and in connection with the prompt receipt 


of title pages and indexes for completed volumes. 
The old custom of asking annually for bids from sev- 
eral agencies is passing because it has been found un- 
satisfactory and expensive both for the library and 
for the agent. 

Back numbers of magazines can generally be 
bought from dealers in odd numbers, more cheaply 
and more easily than from the publishers of the 
magazines. Such dealers can often supply complete 
sets or long runs of many magazines, and will make 
good (if promptly reported) any imperfections. It is 
risky to buy bound sets at auction or second-hand, 
on account of the uncertainty of securing complete 
and perfect copies. 


By supplies are meant all stationery, printed 
forms, cleaning supplies, and all other articles used 
in the library's work except the larger items of per- 
manent equipment. All necessary supplies should be 
provided promptly and economically. Economy does 
not necessarily mean buying at the lowest possible 
price, for an inferior article, even at a low price, may 
be most expensive. The catalogs of reputable firms 
should be kept on file and carefully studied before 
buying. The librarian, or the assistant in charge of 
supplies, should have as full knowledge as possible 
of the various articles on the market, of their prices 
and value. Much economy of time and of money may 


be effected by standardizing every item, so far as 
possible., and when a satisfactory article is found its 
specifications should be noted, so that it can be 
readily repurchased when needed. It is not necessary 
to carry on the list of supplies many different kinds of 
soap, to satisfy the individual preferences of different 
members of the staff; even such articles as lead pen- 
cils should be standardized, because of differences in 
quality and for greater ease of keeping the necessary 
stock records and of reordering. There is also a great 
saving, in time and in money, in buying in reasonably 
large quantities all supplies which are regularly used. 
Many librarians prefer to draw up their own forms, 
and have them printed locally, instead of adopting 
forms which have been standardized and are carried 
in stock by the library supply houses. This is ex- 
pensive, and it is wise to consult the supply houses 
before preparing any new printed forms. There is 
no advantage, for instance, in using a specially 
printed reader's card ? when all essentials have been 
incorporated in a number of standard forms which 
can be supplied, with the library's imprint, at low 
cost. If it is necessary to prepare and print an indi- 
vidual form, there is economy in adopting a size, if 
considerations of filing permit, which will enable the 
printer to cut his sheets without waste. If the quan- 
tity of miscellaneous forms needed is large, it is often 
cheaper and equally satisfactory to print them in the 
library on the mimeograph or the multigraph. 


A stock record book should be conscientiously kept, 
either on cards or in a loose-leaf book. Using a sepa- 
rate card or sheet for each article or form, space 
should be provided for the form number or a brief 
designation of the article, the name of the firm from 
which it was bought, the date of purchase, amount, 
and price paid. Equally important is space for a 
record of all withdrawals from the stock, showing 
the date, quantity withdrawn, department to which 
given, and the quantity still remaining in stock. It 
is well to indicate a "low mark/' so that when the 
stock on hand reaches this point a new order may be 
placed at once. The time required to fill the order 
and the quantity used in that length of time will 
determine how low the supply may be allowed to 
run before reordering. 

A sample book, also, is indispensable. In this 
should be mounted a sample of every printed form, 
and of all such supplies as can be mounted, such as 
cheesecloth, different grades of paper, twine, gummed 
tissue, etc., etc. The quality of stock, style of print- 
ing, and other specifications of each article must be 
carefully recorded, and material supplied on reorders 
should be checked with the sample. 

One person should be held responsible for the dis- 
tribution and reordering of supplies. If the library is 
not large enough to require the full time of one person 
for this work, it should be assigned to someone who 
has a special aptitude for this kind of business. Sup- 


plies may be best distributed at certain definite peri- 
ods., once a month or once a week, according to the 
size of the organization. All supplies should be kept 
in a stock room or closet, and should be given out 
only on written requisitions from the heads of depart- 
ments on forms provided for the purpose. 

Samples of the requisition form and the stock rec- 
ord form used in the Des Moines Public Library are 
reproduced below (Figures 17 and 18). 


Dept. 19 

Department heads and branch librarians should indicate opposite articies 
listed the quantity desired, and send this requisition to die secretary by the 
loth of each month. 


Adhesive tape Transparent Application cards Adult 

Blank books Open end AppEcation cards Junior 

Blotters 4 x 9^* White Book order cards 

Blotters 19 x 24* Green Book pockets 

Brushes Paste Borrowers* cards Adult 

Carbon paper 8 x 12* Borrowers' cards Junior 

Clips Gem Deposit receipt books 

Cloth gummed patches Dating sips 14 day 

Dating outfits Rubber type Daring sfips 7 day 

Dust cloths Envelopes 6K* 

Envelopes 6K* (White) Envelopes 9^' (Bond) 

Envelopes 12 x 15^* K ne record sfips 

Envelopes j}4 x 10* Folders Letter size 

Erasers Ink (Circular) Folders Legal size 

Erasers Art Gum Folders Clipping 

Erasers Steel Labels Reference 

Erasers Pencil Letterheads X sheet 

Ink White lettering Letterheads 8K x n * 

Ink India (Black) Mimeo forms Supply requisition 

Ink Carmine Mimeo forms 3d notice 

Ink Commercial Postals Acknowledgment 




Ink Numbering machine 
*Ink Stamp pad 
Labels Gummed 

Pads-~3 * 5" 

Pads 5x8^ 

Paper Typewriting (BJ4 x 1 1 *) 

Paper Typewriting (8> x 13 r ) 

Paper Wrapping 

Paper Yellow sheets 


Pencil daters 

Pencils Library tip No. 2 

Penholders Cork grip 
*Pencils Colored 

Pens Stub 

Pencils Public 

Pens Oval point 


Rubber bands 

*S tars Gummed 

Thumb tacks 

Twine White 

Twine Hemp 
"Typewriter ribbon 


Postals Reserve 
Postals Request for material 
Postals Overdue 1st notice 
Postals Overdue id notice 
Rules Printed 
Statistic sheets 

Book cards White 
Book cards Manilla 
Book cards Blue 
Book cards Pink 
Book cards Green 
Cards School department 
Catalog cards Unruled 
Catalog cards I side spoiled 
Guide cards Buff 
Periodical record cards 
Shelf list cards 



Toilet paper 


Stamps I -cent 
Stamps 2-cent 
Postal cards i-cent 



*Indicate color desired- 

Supply Requisition Blank (Size 8K x 14*) (muMgraphed) 






1 6pp. 


$ 90.00 











7-1 Q-2? 



Homestead ..... 

I C2.7C 

7- 8-24 


3 2 PP- 

Amen Lithograph . . . 


Four half-tone cuts Amer. 

Lithograph .... 


lo- 5-25 



Amer. Lithograph . . . 


io- 7-26 



Koch Brothers .... 


PAPER Binding Department 

6-12-25 K Rm. 32 x 44-89 Velvo Pratt . 

8-15-25 i Rm. 32 x 44-89 Velvet Pratt . 

11-8-26 i Rm. 89 Velvet book Pratt. 



i. oo 

Stock Record Card (Des Moines Public Obrary) (typewritten) 

3101 F 


{Read carefully t&* mtia Mow. Failure in fellow directions mil delay payment of claim.) 





HaeftimilxtotlD^artmentof SMS UTICA PUBLIC LIBRARY 

Bateau ofz. . tbe following to be 

at _ _ 




Total Extensions $ 

ordered by me. 

Classification: Entry: 

(For Comptroller Only) 

(To be filled in if fhis is a confirmation order) 

Date of original _____________ 

How ordered 

By whom . 


PURCHASE ORDER (Size *j*4 x 
This form is made in quadruplicate: (i) Copy to the vendor; (2) Copy to 
Comptroller, bearing in lower left-hand corner statement signed by librarian: 
"I hereby certify that the above supples were ordered by me"; (3) Copy to be 
returned by the vendor with the goods, which has space for the signature of the 
employee who received and examined the goods; (4) Copy to be retained in the 

Bbrarian's file. 


Order records 

A satisfactory system must be installed for han- 
dling all orders, whether for books or for supplies- 
Owing to the fact that orders and bills are so closely 
connected, and that the bills in most public libraries 
are paid by the city treasurer, the librarian may find 
it necessary to plan his order system to conform with 
the requirements of the city. 

The order form used in the Utica Public Library is 
reproduced in Figure 19. 

If a municipal order form such as this is used when 
books are ordered,, the titles, authors, publishers, and 
prices may be listed on sheets of plain paper, attached 
to the order form; the order may then be entered on 
this form as "Books listed on attached sheets, esti- 
mated cost . . ." 

Upon the arrival of books or supplies from the 
dealer, the invoice must be carefully checked with the 
slips in the order file, to see that the order is com- 
pletely and properly filled and that the prices are 
right. It is desirable to have each invoice initialed by 
the person who checks it, as an aid in fixing responsi- 
bility. The proper entries should be made at once in 
the order files, showing the date the goods were 
received, the price paid, and the dealer. 

For the record of books ordered, in addition to the 
file of orders outstanding, there should be a "con- 
tinuation*" file listing annual publications, books 
coming out in parts^ sets appearing at irregular 


times, and books in series which are to be kept 
together as one set. This file should be consulted fre- 
quently, and overdue items should be written for. 


About subscription books. Massachusetts Library Club Bulletin, 16:78-75, 

October, 1926. (Quotes letter of warning from a state official.) 
A. 3L A. Committee on Book Buying. How to import. Library Journal,, 46:883 

84, November i, 1921. 
HOPPER, F. F., AND CANKTON", CARL L. Order and accession department. A. L. A. 

Manual of library economy. No. 17, 1926. 

library book buying. Library Journal, 46:637-39, August, 1921. 
MERRILL, JULIA W. Businesslike book buying. Wisconsin Library Bulletin, 

17:27-31, February-March, 1921. 
M[OORE], E. G. To mend or rebind or buy new copies. New York Libraries, 

9:170-71^ February, 1925. 
The pay collection in public libraries. New York Libraries, 9:194-98, May, 

Replacement orders. Library Journal, 49:33132, April I, 1924. (Report of 

A. L. A. Committee on Book Buying.) 
STEBBINS, HOWARD L. Speeding up serial additions. Library Journal, 48:407- 

08, May i, 1923. 
Survey of Libraries in the United States. 4 vols. A. L. A., 1926-27. (Read 

especially volume I, chapter 3, "Selection and acquisition of material," and 

volume 2, p. 63-73, on pay collections.) 

Wasting book money. New York Libraries, 9:5-7, November, 1923. 
WHYTE, FLORA H. Order routine. Wisconsin Library Bulletin, 15:128, May, 

WfyxKOO-p], A[SA], Model system and records for book buying for the small 

library. New York Libraries, 8:20810, May, 1923. 
Your book order. Wisconsin Library Bulletin, 19:1213, January, 1923. 

Administration Organization 

EFFICIENCY In the internal administration of 
the library is essential, in order that the real 
purposes of the library may be fulfilled. 
Among the librarian's administrative duties are the 
employment of assistants and all problems pertaining 
to the staff; the purchase of books, equipment, and 
supplies; keeping the financial accounts; the care of 
building and grounds; interviews and conferences; 
correspondence and filing; the preservation of all nec- 
essary records, and many other activities. In the 
satisfactory performance of all these duties, the con- 
trolling factors are definite purpose, order, and sys- 
tem, and much earnest thought may well be devoted 
to the attainment of these requisites. 

Many of the administrative duties are of a routine 
nature, and may be delegated to members of the 
staff. Here, as elsewhere, the librarian must have a 
true sense of values. By a careful arrangement of his 
own time and an efficient schedule for the perform- 
ance of all routine work, he must ensure the proper 
performance of every duty, and must see that his own 
time is not taken up by work that could be as well 
done by someone else. In a library of medium size 
there cannot be the specialization which is a necessity 



in the organization of a large library, and a very 
elaborate system would be cumbersome. Each assist- 
ant, however, can be assigned the keeping of certain 
records, with the result that much of the librarian's 
time is saved for more important administrative 
work, and the whole staff is made more efficient. 

In one library, for example, with a book collection 
of about 30,000 volumes, an annual circulation of 
approximately 300,000 volumes, and a staff of eight 
trained people, including no stenographer or clerical 
assistant, the librarian believes in the development of 
the individual potentialities of every staff member. 
He therefore assigns definite routine duties to each, 
and changes the assignments frequently enough to 
give variety and to promote versatility. Thus to one 
is assigned the record of fines and of the duplicate 
pay collection; to another, all accessioning and its 
necessary records; to another, the daily circulation 
statistics. A small desk is provided, a drawer in 
which is assigned to each department. This gives a 
place where each assistant can make her records and 
compile her statistics without interrupting the libra- 
rian or other members of the staff, and provides for 
the safety of the records and for their accessibility to 
all who have occasion to consult them. This desk the 
assistant in charge of supplies keeps provided with the 
monthly payroll report, the monthly circulation re- 
port, the petty cash blanks and reports, and other 
printed forms. 


The librarian's office 

The office is generally on the main floor, conveni- 
ently accessible to the public and the staff. Too 
often, however, it has been placed by the architect 
wherever it would least interfere with Ms design, 
with no understanding of its requirements in size or 
in location. The office is the place where the library's 
business activities center: where the librarian con- 
fers with staff members and with callers, where he 
does his work and forms his plans and keeps the 
official records. If no room is provided for the trustees, 
the board meetings may be held in the librarian's 
office, and this should be taken into consideration in 
planning the building; elaborate rooms for the trus- 
tees, which will be used only a few times a month at 
the most, are becoming more and more uncommon. 

The office need not be sumptuous, but it should be 
attractive, conveniently located, and adequate in size 
to serve the necessary purposes. A two-room arrange- 
ment is very desirable, one for the private office of the 
librarian and one for a reception room. An office sec- 
retary is very desirable in any library with a staff of 
not less than thirty members, for there is enough 
routine administrative work to occupy the entire 
time of one person. The secretary's desk should be 
placed in the outer office, which may also be used, 
perhaps, as a work-room where books may be pre- 
pared for the shelves or for the bindery. Thus the 


outer office will be continuously occupied, and con- 
venient access is afforded to the librarian's office. 
The two-room unit should be so placed, however, 
that the librarian can watch the main circulation 
desk, and go back and forth as often as need be. 

The equipment of the office and of the reception 
room should be simple and inexpensive, restricted to 
such desks, chairs, filing cabinets, etc., as may be 
needed, and to book shelving along the walls. Some 
attention should be given, however, to making the 
rooms as attractive as possible. The arrangement of 
the furniture; good, serviceable rugs; carefully chosen 
window shades, and a few appropriate pictures of the 
best quality, will give individuality to the office, and 
a pleasing welcome to visitors. 

Office equipment 

Standardization of equipment is now pretty gen- 
erally applied so far as charging desks, catalog cases, 
and shelving are concerned. Librarians are now giv- 
ing more attention to standardization of office and 
work-room equipment. The old-fashioned roll- top 
desk, with its pigeonholes and compartments, has 
been supplanted in most offices by the flat-top desk, 
designed to facilitate efficient work. A good executive 
usually has little or nothing on the top of his desk, 
and very little in it, apart from work which is under 
immediate consideration. "The busier the man, the 
clearer the desk," is a saying which has often been 


proved true; the more orderly the desk, the easier It is 
to find the needed papers and to dispatch the work on 
hand. A glass top on the desk is helpful, for it is clean 
and neat, and under it may be placed staff schedules, 
lists of addresses and telephone numbers, and other 
records frequently consulted. 

The memorandum calendar is an indispensable 
part of the desk equipment. It is a good plan at the 
beginning of the year to enter on this calendar all 
fixed engagements, such as the regular meetings of 
the board, the monthly payroll, staff-meeting days, 
the date for presenting the budget to the city, etc., 

Even in the smallest library it is unwise to purchase 
makeshift filing equipment. Much attention has been 
given by manufacturers to appearance, durability, 
ease of operation, and capacity of expansion, and all 
of these features are important. One librarian de- 
scribes as follows an effort to secure good results 
under unsatisfactory conditions. "My office arrange- 
ment is far from ideal. I wonder if every librarian 
isn't forced into his arrangement of work by the exi- 
gencies of local conditions. I believe that every 
librarian should have the best desk which can be 
obtained; and unless he has a secretary to bring all 
papers, etc., to him, he should have a vertical file, 
placed where he can reach it without getting up, 
which can be opened and closed with so little effort 
that it can be done without getting out of the chair/' 


It is possible to buy almost any desired combination 
of units for letter files, card files, pamphlet files, etc., 
in expansible, interlocking units. 

The correspondence files, like the desk, should be 
unencumbered with useless material. I was recently 
shown the file of a medium-sized library which con- 
tained the correspondence of four years in one-half of 
a drawer of a standard vertical file unit. When the 
present librarian took charge, every drawer of the 
unit was crowded with letters suggesting books for 
purchase, complaints and suggestions concerning the 
library's service, notices of meetings and conven- 
tions, publishers' and booksellers' announcements, 
and innumerable other things which had been at- 
tended to, filed, and forgotten. Of this accumulated 
material everything was thrown away except impor- 
tant official letters and communications, appoint- 
ments, resignations, salary increases, contracts, and 
other papers which might possibly be needed for 
future reference. The present librarian's policy is to 
hold out of the permanent file all correspondence on 
matters still pending. When a matter is finally dis- 
posed of, the papers are filed if they seem sufficiently 
important and likely at some time to be needed; 
otherwise, the papers are destroyed at once. At the 
end of the year the file is cleared of papers which 
have become obsolete since they were filed. Such a 
policy, of course, is safe only if applied with good 


Scheduling work 

It is well to prepare for each day a schedule, as 
definite as any time schedule can be made, allotting 
certain times for desk routine, for correspondence, for 
callers and meetings, for outside errands, for planning 
new activities, and for all other duties which can be 
foreseen. To be sure, it is difficult to keep to such a 
schedule, for no day is free from many necessary 
interruptions. But because of these interruptions, he 
who makes a schedule, and follows it as closely as 
possible, accomplishes far more than he could accom- 
plish if he worked with no plan at all, and he does his 
work with greater ease. It should be an unalterable 
law with the librarian that he will keep all engage- 
ments punctually. Inability to be on time or failure 
to keep an engagement is Inexcusable, and indicates 
either indifference, irresponsibility, or poor manage- 
ment of one's affairs. 

When the mail is opened, by the librarian or by his 
secretary, it should be at once sorted into such divi- 
sions that each part can be properly disposed of with- 
out going over it a second time. Ail letters which can 
be answered at once should be placed together for 
immediate dictation, and any which call for informa- 
tion which must be looked up should be laid aside for 
the necessary investigation. Newspapers and maga- 
zines should go at once to the assistant who checks 
them on the periodical records and places them on the 


files. Some one should look over all circulars, pam- 
phlets, booksellers' catalogs and lists,, and throw 
away at once all which are of no interest to the 
library- Many pamphlets are of real value tempo- 
rarily,, if not permanently, in the pamphlet collection 
of the reference department, but many others are 
either propaganda or advertising matter. Some book- 
sellers' catalogs are worth keeping because of their 
bibliographic value, and some are worth a hasty 
perusal, and perhaps careful checking, for desirable 
items at good prices. If your funds are limited, how- 
ever, the second-hand and auction catalogs which it 
will pay you to read are few. All catalogs and 
pamphlets which are kept should be systematically 
filed, and not piled up on, or in, your desk, on the 
window ledge, or on vacant shelves. 

All letters should be answered promptly; if possi- 
ble,, on the day received. If a full answer cannot be 
given at once, the letter should be acknowledged 
with the statement that a reply to its queries will be 
sent later. It is a good practice to cultivate the habit 
of dictating letters at the very beginning of the day's 

This sets the stenographer at work at once, and 
gives the librarian opportunity to consider further 
such letters as cannot be answered immediately. All 
letters and other dictated material should be brought 
to the librarian as soon as finished, and not allowed 
to accumulate until the end of the day. 


Staff organization 

The staff organization of a library is partly the 
result of conditions existent within the library and 
partly, in many cases, of conditions imposed from 
without, over which the librarian can have no con- 
trol. How the staff shall be built up and maintained, 
however, depends primarily upon the vision and exec- 
utive power of the librarian; upon his ability to recog- 
nize in people the fundamental qualities required for 
the service, and upon his skill in developing potential 
ability. The spirit of the staff, too, is determined 
almost wholly by the librarian. 

Among certain fundamental administrative prin- 
ciples which are applicable in the organization of all 
libraries are the following: 

1. There must be a single person the librarian 
in control. 

2. Authority and responsibility should be dele- 
gated to staff members to such extent as the service 
may require. Care should be taken neither to under- 
burden nor to overburden any of the staff with work 
or responsibility. The authority of each person to 
whom administrative responsibility is given should be 
clearly recognized. 

3. Under certain circumstances any member of the 
staff should be expected to exercise his discretion in 
meeting unexpected responsibilities. Recognition of 
this privilege and duty is a means of promoting loyalty. 


4. Specialization in work and in responsibility 
should be developed as far as possible, but should be 
accompanied by coordination of the staff as a whole. 

5. The organization must be sufficiently flexible to 

permit steady expansion with the growth of the 
library, or modification to meet changing conditions. 

6. There must be an adequate system of supervi- 
sion of all parts of the organization. 

In accordance with these principles, the organiza- 
tion of the staff should provide for such differentia- 
tion,, and at the same time such coordination, of the 
work of all its members that each one will make his 
own contribution effectively and all will work in 

A majority of the public libraries in the United 
States are administered under a loose form of organi- 
zation, without definite classification of positions and 
formal requirements. The advocates of this system 
feel that it provides the greatest flexibility since 
assistants can be assigned readily to work in what- 
ever department they may be most needed and the 
maximum opportunity for individual self-expression 
and development. The members of the staff can be 
appointed solely on consideration of their individual 
qualifications, unhampered by the restrictions of 
fixed regulations, and work can be assigned to each in 
accordance with his education, training, experience, 
and ability. Promotions and salary increases can like- 
wise be awarded on consideration of each case by itself. 


In many cities the public library is operated under 
the municipal (or sometimes the state) civil service. 
It is usually considered a serious handicap for the 
librarian to be obliged to recommend appointments 
from a list of candidates who have been declared 
eligible as the result of civil service examinations, in 
which personality cannot be satisfactorily tested; the 
handicap is especially serious if, as is usually the case, 
the library has little or nothing to say regarding the 
standards set. Many of the best qualified people will 
not apply for positions which are under civil service 
requirements, because they are unwilling to undergo 
the examination and the subsequent delay in an- 
nouncing the result of the competition. If it seems 
desirable to dismiss anyone whose service is unsatis- 
factory, the librarian can do so only by filing charges 
against him with the civil service commission. It is 
urged in defense of the civil service that it provides 
an effective safeguard against the possibility of politi- 
cal appointments and the pressure of personal influ- 
ence. Most librarians, however, feel that all of the 
advantages of civil service, without its disadvan- 
tages, can be secured by a classified service, initiated 
and operated by the library itself on the civil service 
principle of appointment on merit alone. 1 

Many of the large libraries, and some of medium 
size, have adopted "schemes of service," under which 

1 For reports on the operation of civil service, and on "graded service," see 
A survey of libraries in the United States 3 volume i, p. 87-94. 


each position is classified and governed by fixed regu- 
lations. Under this method the entire staff, with 
exception, usually, of the librarian, assistant libra- 
rian, clerical workers, and janitors, is divided into 
definite, correlated grades. The positions falling 
within each grade are specified, and the qualifica- 
tions, duties, and salaries are prescribed for each 
position. The terms of promotion within the staff and 
for appointment from without are stated, and the 
rates and conditions of increases in salary. 

Even if a formal scheme of definitely graded service 
is not practicable, a wise librarian will establish, at 
least tentatively and in his own mind, the different 
positions which are required on his staff, and the 
qualifications and duties attached to each. It is diffi- 
cult to outline definitely the requirements necessary 
in libraries generally, for each library is more or less 
of a unit in itself, and within certain limits must 
work out its own problems in its own way. A 
survey of libraries in the United States (vol. I, p. 
125-36) records considerable experience which is of 
much value to a librarian in connection with staff 

Standards of service 

Librarianship as a profession requires of its mem- 
bers special training, knowledge, and skill, but it has 
suffered in the past from lack of adequate and uni- 
form standards. The evils growing out of this lack 


are now widely recognized, and efforts are being made 
to remove them. 

Several states, progressive in library matters 3 have 
enacted laws requiring all those who administer a 
library supported by public tax to have definite and 
positive qualifications for this public service. This 
system of certification of librarians corresponds to the 
certification by state authority of many of the other 
professions. It is generally recognized that upon the 
personal and professional ability of its staff depends 
the library's standing as an efficient institution. Lack- 
ing a staff with the necessary knowledge of books, the 
knowledge of organization and method needed to 
make its resources available, and the ability to make 
the library fit the needs of the community, it is as 
impossible for a library to become the factor in public 
education that the law intended it should be, as it is 
for a school to do its proper educational work without 
duly qualified teachers. Therefore the states are set- 
ting up requirements aiming at standards of service, 
and are certifying persons according to their actual 
knowledge and training. 2 

These standards of service give valuable aid to the 
librarian in the choice of well-defined terms. A state 
certificate gives evidence of definite knowledge and 
training, the necessary factors of all good professional 
work. There are other qualifications, important in a 

*A survey of Ebraries in die United States, 1:94-113. 


person to be engaged for professional service. Having 
ascertained beyond a doubt certain standard and cer- 
tifiable matters., the librarian is now able to give his 
time and attention to those traits of personality 
which are pertinent to the specific appointment under 
consideration. These are difficult to measure and a 
librarian usually wishes to rely upon his own judg- 
ment in considering them. 

The American Library Association has recently 
cooperated in the publication of Proposed classifica- 
tion and compensation plans for library positions^ a 
report of the Bureau of Public Personnel Administra- 
tion to the Committee on the Classification of Library 
Personnel of the American Library Association. 3 This 
report includes summaries of the findings of an exten- 
sive study; recommendations and benefits; a list of 
class titles and compensation schedules proposed for 
each type of work in libraries of various sizes; sug- 
gestions concerning the method of applying the pro- 
posed classification in various kinds of libraries; rules 
recommended for adopting,, applying ) and adminis- 
tering the classification and compensation schedules; 
proposed standards for libraries of the various grades; 
statistical tables showing present titles, age, com- 
pensation 5 education and experience of the persons 
now holding positions of various classes; and com- 
plete specifications for some two hundred classes of 
library positions. 

* Burean of Public Personnel Administration, Washington, 1927. 


In this way the national association is attempting 
to aid in the establishment of adequate standards. 
At the same time it is giving specific attention to the 
professional training given in the library schools. 
This it does by accrediting schools which meet its 
requirements in standards and methods, and by cur- 
riculum studies which will result in the production of 
proper material for instruction. 


remuneration and adequate standards 
are practically inseparable,, and higher salaries must 3 
in many cases., precede or accompany an increase in 
requirements. If qualified people are to be secured 
and retained for the library's servicej they must be 
paid enough to enable them to live as people of cul- 
ture and refinement should live. 

It is not within the province of this book to en- 
deavor to determine the salary which should be paid 
for different types of work in the public library. 
Local conditions necessitate local applications of 
practically any standards that may be established, 
Many data concerning the salaries which are now 
paid in libraries of different sizes are available in A 
survey of libraries in the United States (vol. I 5 p. 
137-38), and the A. L. A. Committee on Salaries 
publishes each year, in the A. L. A. Bulletin, tables of 
salary statistics. With reference to what ought to be 
accepted as a minimum salary for different kinds of 


positions, the American Library Association has 
adopted the following resolution: 

"The American Library Association believes that 
adequate salaries must be paid to librarians and 
library assistants if the public library is to hold and 
develop its place as an important educational agency. 

"It believes that a library assistant with a college 
education and one year of training in library school 
should receive not less than $1,620 a year as a begin- 
ning salary; that an assistant with less than a full 
college education and with one year of training in 
library school should receive not less than $1,380 a 
year as a beginning salary; that an assistant with only 
a high school education and one year of training in a 
library training class (with courses of instruction 
which approximate those of library school) should 
receive a beginning salary of not less than $1,200 a 
year; that an assistant lacking library school training 
but having had equivalent training or experience in 
well-managed libraries should receive the beginning 
salary of the class whose requirements are most 
nearly equalled by the length and character of the 

"Higher minimum salaries should prevail in cities 
where the cost of living is above the average and in 
positions demanding considerable responsibility. 

"Library salaries in every city and state should be 
adjusted to meet the competition of business, teach- 
ing, and other vocations, especially in that city and 


state, to the end that more well-qualified persons may 
be attracted to library work." 

The Proposed classification and compensation plans 
jor library positions already referred to, prepared by 
the Bureau of Public Personnel Administration, is a 
valuable aid in any attempt to classify the service^ to 
prescribe requirements, and to establish a salary 
schedule. It is hoped that the recommendations here 
made "will assist in bringing about and maintaining 
equitable and reasonably uniform compensation for 
the same kind of work } will make it possible to secure, 
retain and fairly reward competent library workers, 
and will secure something approaching the maximum 
return in loyal and efficient personal service for the 
compensation paid. It is recommended to librarians 
that as rapidly as possible they adopt the class titles 
and put into effect the compensation rates set forth 
in the classification and compensation plans., and that 
they administer the plans substantially in the manner 
set forth in the recommended rules." 

Automatic increases 

It is a fairly general practice to allow regular, auto- 
matic increases annually, from an established begin- 
ning salary to the maximum allowed for the particu- 
lar kind of work done. This plan of granting a series 
of increases, carried on over a period of years, has its 
basis in the fact that workers tend to develop in effi- 
ciency with added experience, and should be paid 


accordingly, rather than receive the average salary 
constantly over all the years. The beginning salary 
should be adequate to attract properly trained per- 
sons, and then should be increased up to a common 
maximum for all workers in the particular grade of 

A good salary schedule is one which not only pro- 
vides adequate remuneration for each position, but 
tends to stimulate industry in the staff members, to 
encourage improvement, and to reward exceptional 
merit. The schedule should therefore be planned to 
embody, so far as possible, these features: 

1. An adequate beginning salary, that well edu- 
cated and properly trained people may be attracted 
to the library's service, 

2. Small automatic increases in salary, within each 
grade of the service, until a maximum established for 
that grade is reached. 

3. Provision whereby a qualified person not already 
on the staff may be appointed at a salary commensu- 
rate with his training and experience, and not nec- 
essarily at the salary paid beginners in the same type 
of work. 

4. Promotion from one grade to another only after 
passing an examination or some other test of fitness 
for a higher position. 

5. Provision authorizing salary increases beyond 
the usual maximum, as a reward of exceptional merit 
and ability. 


Staff schedules 

It is desirable to maintain three schedules showing 
the assignments of the various members of the staff 
to different duties: a time schedule, a desk schedule, 
and a work responsibility schedule. 

The time schedule, showing the exact hours each 
day that each assistant is scheduled to be on duty, 
should be planned with the following considerations 
in mind: 

The total number of hours each member of the 
staff is required to work. (This is usually not less than 
40 and not more than 42.) 

The maximum and the minimum number of hours 
which the library's regulations permit to be scheduled 
for one day's work. (State laws setting maximum 
limits must also be kept in mind, although most 
libraries have regulations or customs which are well 
within the number provided by the law as a maxi- 

So far as possible, the assistant librarian should 
always be on duty when the librarian is likely to be 
absent. Both the librarian and the assistant librarian 
should be on duty during the busiest hours of each day. 

The largest part of the staff should be on duty in 
the afternoon. 

Each person's schedule should provide for either a 
free half-day or a free day each week. (The half-day 
Is much more common than the full day.) 


One hour should be allowed each member for 
lunch, and 45 minutes for supper for each one who is 
on duty in the evening. (The evening force ordinarily 
reports for duty at one o'clock, if the library is open 
from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., the most usual hours.) 

The desk schedule should be arranged to show the 
assignments to each department, or each desk where 
borrowers are served, as clearly as the time schedule 
shows the assignments of each member of the staff. 
It must provide for an adequate number of people, at 
all hours, to serve the adult lending desk, the chil- 
dren's room, the reference room, and any other public 
departments. If there is a reader's assistant, or an 
assistant assigned to floor duty in busy hours, these 
hours should be indicated on the desk schedule. The 
largest number of people must be on duty at the 
public desks during the busiest hours. Provision 
must be made for special pieces of routine work 
which cannot be done at the lending desk during busy 

The work responsibility schedule is concerned with 
the special work assigned to each member of the staflf 
as his own individual responsibility, in addition to 
those duties which he shares with others. In many 
libraries these individual assignments are changed 
every few months or once a year, in order to vary the 
work and to assure each assistant an acquaintance 
with all parts of the work. In a small library, particu- 
larly, it is essential that all of the staff should be 


familiar with the entire routine. The work responsi- 
bility schedule may be best arranged by the names of 
the various assistants, showing under each name the 
duties assigned, such as entering applications in the 
registration book, checking new magazines, sending 
overdue notices,, etc. If the library is divided into 
distinct departments, each department should keep 
its own work responsibility schedule. 

Departmental organization 

A comparative study of libraries shows great differ- 
ences in regard to the organization of the work and 
the staff into departments. Of libraries practically 
the same in size and in type of service, some have very 
few departments, and justify their policy by the ne- 
cessity of economy; others have many departments, 
which they justify on the theory that by such speciali- 
zation the library can give more intelligent service. 
Care should be used not to make the organization 
unnecessarily complicated, and not to have too rigid 
divisions between departments. It is not feasible to 
elevate every distinct kind of work to the dignity of a 
department; as long as it can remain, without detri- 
ment, a part of an existing department's work, it 
should be allowed to remain so. Thus the order 
department and the catalog department frequently 
are combined in one, until their work becomes too 
highly differentiated. Compactness of organization is 
desirable, and should be maintained as long as pos- 


This arrangement of departments and branches is followed in medium-sized and 

large libraries. The chart shows a department of branches parallel with other 

departments directly responsible to the librarian. No interrelations of closely 

allied departments is shown except through the librarian. 


sible. When, however, any part of the library's work 
can be more efficiently handled by being made a sep- 
arate department* the division should be made. 

In order to avoid the evils which not infrequently 
accompany departmental distinctions, these distinc- 
tions should be no greater than is necessary. The 
various departments should not be recognized, by the 
15brarian 3 the department heads, or the assistants, as 
entirely separate units, but should be always consid- 
ered as coordinate parts of the whole institution. 
Frequent meetings of the heads of departments with 
the librarian are helpful in ironing out interrelated 
problems and in promoting common understanding 
and good feeling. The department heads must be 
people who can preserve harmony and good fellow- 
ship among the assistants; the librarian must be a 
person who can preserve the same qualities among 
the department heads. 

, As the library expands, stations and branches will 
be established often, indeed, before the work at the 
central building has been departmentalized to any 
great extent. The establishment of branches necessi- 
tates further segregation and supervision. The 
branch librarian is the executive of the branch unit, 
responsible for its administration under the control of 
the librarian, the assistant librarian, or, in large 
libraries, the superintendent of branches. In many 
libraries the children's work at branches is under the 
general direction of the superintendent of children's 



work; In such cases the branch librarian must give 
freedom to the children's librarian to carry out the 
policies of the superintendent, although the branch 
librarian is responsible for the work with children as 
he is for all the other activities of the branch. Some 


This chart shows two groups of departments, one internal and the other public. 
Each branch and each station is shown as reporting directly to the librarian 

without an intermediate department head. 

librarians think it better not to have a superintendent 
of branches, because of the overlapping of depart- 
mental authority, and either delegate the supervision 
of branches to the assistant librarian or retain it in 

their own hands. 







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One of the simplest methods of crystallizing and 
visualizing the departmental organization of a library 
is the preparation of an organization chart. This is a 
diagram of the administrative system, which indi- 
cates graphically the position of each department and 
division, and the relation of each to all the others. 
Even If a library is too small to have actual depart- 
ments, formally organized, a chart may help to clarify 
and coordinate the various divisions of the library's 
work. The organization chart should make clear the 
gradations of authority, and all Interdepartmental 
relationships, without confusing detail. Too much 
time should not be given to the preparation of the 
chart, nor should the librarian fall into the error of 
regarding it as a thing of beauty. A paper diagram is 
not proof of efficiency or of economical administra- 
tion. Such a chart, however, if proportionate to the 
actual extent of the library's service, will help the 
librarian to maintain proper coordination, and may 
sometimes help In explaining to trustees or others the 
administrative needs of the library. 

Various forms of organization charting are Illus- 
trated In Figures 20, 21, and 22. 


ABRAHAM, EFFIE GALE. Keeping in touch with the different departments of 

the library. library Occurrent, 6:288-92, July, 1922. 
A. L. A. Committee on National Certification and Training: Report. In A. L. A., 

Annual reports 1920-21, p. 78-89. 
BOSTWICK, ARTHUR E. The library staff. In his American public Iibrary 5 1923, 

p. 201-14. 


COUNTRYMAN, GRATIA A. Problems of departmental organization. Library 

Journal, 50:21314, March I, 1925. 
DANA, JOHN COTTON. Certification and civil service control. Library Journal, 

46:881-83, November I, 1921. 
FAIR, ETHEL M. A unit for library service. Wisconsin Library Bulletin, 21 1172- 

74, July, 1925. 
HICKMAN, MARGARET. Personnel at the loan desk. Minnesota library Notes 

and News, 8:101-02, March, 1926. 
HJRTH, MADELINE B. Social problems of a library staff. library Journal, 

46:154-57, February 15, 1921. 
KAISER, JOHN B, A neglected phase of the salary question. library Journal, 

* 45:111-16 and 158-62, February i and 15, 1920, 
KOBETICH, MARY. School and library statistics. A. L. A. Bulletin, 18:59-74, 

March, 1924. 
Minimum salaries for library assistants. (Report of A. L. A. Committee on 

Salaries.) Library Journal, 48:63-68. 
MORGAN, JOY E. Standards of library service, Wilson Bulletin, 2:3-6, June, 


Problems of creating and organizing departments, organizing of a loan de- 
partment, librarians of large public libraries. Proceedings of conference, 

January 1-2, 1925, p. 9-23. 
RANCK, SAMUEL H. Humanizing library work- Library Journal, 45:205-06, 

March i, 1920, The welfare of Ebrarians. Public libraries, 25:127-30, 

March, 1920. 
WALTER, FRANK K. Certification. Library Journal, 48:136-38, February i, 

WYNKOOP, ASA. Why the state should provide standards to Ixs observed by 

local public libraries. New York libraries, 9:37-43, February, 1924^ and 

Illinois libraries, 6:81-89, January, 1924. 

The Significance of Statistics 

THE people who make provision for library 
service by their willingness to tax themselves 
for its establishment and support expect that 
for value given they will receive proportionate value 
in return. They have a right to be informed as to 
what the library is doing with the funds., and how it 
is serving the community, and also as to the further 
needs of the library in its effort to expand its service. 
The better the community is kept informed., the 
greater will be its interest in the library, and the 
larger will be that library's appropriations. 1 

The librarian's administrative duty, therefore, in- 
cludes the production of such statistical records as 
will show the actual condition and needs of the 
library, and the effective presentation of such records 
to the various constituents of the library in an intelli- 
gible form. Whatever reports are made to the com- 

1 "... the most promising movement among librarians at the present time 
is for a close study of the means for securing an intelligent diffusion of service. 
They call it 'publicity' a term which may be necessary, but which is not quite 
air to their idea. ... It aims to call attention to hitherto unappreciated 
values in the manner of simple service characteristic of a telephone directory or 
of postal deliveries. The value of the ideas contained in books is as real and 
universal as food and clothing except for those who cannot read. Tax-payers 
have a right to know just what these values are and how they may be pro- 
cured." 1 (Learned, W. S. The American public library and the diffusion of 
knowledge, p. 27.) 



munity must be complete, accurate and based on 
sound judgment. In any attempt to enlighten the 
general public on library matters, mere assertions and 
personal opinions of the librarian will have little 
weight. All presentations of the present service and 
the further needs of the library must be based on 
carefully compiied 3 clearly interpreted facts and fig- 
ures, presented as concisely and as graphically as 

Much time and thought must be given a therefore, 
to the compilation and study of statistics. But the 
value of these must not be overemphasized or mis- 
understood. The only measure of a library's effective- 
ness is its vital usefulness to the people of the com- 
munity. The only value of statistics, then, is the 
indication they give of the usefulness of the library's 
service. No figures can give an exact indication of the 
true value of a service which cannot be appraised in 
dollars and cents; nevertheless, if wisely compiled 
and intelligently used, the statistical records of the 
library's work may make an important contribution 
toward its correct evaluation. The librarian should, 
therefore, give thoughtful consideration to the nature 
of the library's duty to the community; to the forms 
of service through which it can best fulfill this duty; 
to the statistics which will indicate most accurately 
how well the duty is being performed , and to the 
publication and interpretation of the significant facts 
revealed by the statistics. 


Community relationships 

The problem of community relationships enters 
into practically every problem that can arise in public 
library administration. A good administration may 
build up an organization so efficient that it functions 
with almost mathematical precision and accuracy. 
Yet, if the organization lacks proper coordination 
with the interests and the needs of the community,, it 
is as valueless as an empty shell, and the supposedly 
good administrator is discredited. An efficient library 
contributes to the educational and intellectual im- 
provement of the city, to its civic spirit, to its 
contentment and well-being in all the intangible 
things which constitute human welfare. The libra- 
rian must construct and follow a policy which will 
make possible such a contribution in ever-increasing 

The service which the library can give is limited 
only by the vision and purpose of those in charge, by 
the potentialities of the community itself, and by the 
available resources. The potentialities of the people 
are the chief force which must determine the libra- 
rian's policy, for the nature and extent of the service 
which can or should be given depends upon the ability 
of the community to make profitable use of it. To 
offer any group of people a service for which they 
have no desire and are not fitted is unprofitable and 


Statistical standards 

Every librarian realizes the value of having definite 
objective standards, expressed in figures so far as 
possible, by which to measure the library's service 
and to make such comparisons with other libraries as 
difference of conditions may permit. His position is 
much strengthened if he can cite established facts or 
widely accepted authority when he states that a 
library serving a certain number of people should 
have a certain number of books, and that a book fund 
of not less than a specified annual amount is neces- 
sary; or when he seeks to justify the number of assist- 
ants needed, and the salaries which must be paid to 
secure competent people. If he is In possession of con- 
vincing data on such points as these, he approximates 
the position of a business executive who has definite 
elements of control, as standards agairfst which he 
can check the actual efficiency of the business. He 
must have what is, in a sense, a measure of cost pro- 
duction,, which will enable him to measure the amount 
and the quality of the library *s service by the cost of 
producing it. 

Standards are, therefore, assiduously sought by 
librarians everywhere for accurate data which will 
help them answer these questions: Are the available 
funds sufficient to meet the needs of the community? 
Are the funds wisely allotted to yield adequate re- 
turns? How successfully is the library reaching the 


people? Is the service meeting the actual needs of the 
different elements of the community? What propor- 
tion of increase in service can be expected from in- 
creased appropriations ? In seeking answers to these 
and similar questions, consideration must be given to 
the personnel of the library, its income and expendi- 
ture, the book collection,, the number of books circu- 
lated,, the use of the library for reference purposes, 
the work with children, the number of people served, 
extension agencies, building, and publicity. 


When the service of a library is measured with the 
standards of an educational institution, the fundamen- 
tal factor is the quality of its staff. Yet emphasis is 
too frequently placed upon the materials of service, 
rather than on the service itself. But these material 
things, in themselves, are inert, passive, and quite 
incapable of acting with any power upon the life and 
thought of the community. A library which is merely 
a thing of building and of books, where quality of 
personal service is treated as a negligible factor, is 
without positive educational value. A library which 
merely serves such desires as make themselves felt 
within its walls, instead of reaching out to extend its 
influence, is giving very inferior service. Libraries 
may grow in size, but they cannot grow in educa- 
tional value until this false estimate of relative 
values is completely reversed^ and the quality of 


personal service Is recognized as the all-essential 

Until greater uniformity is established, and such 
standards as those suggested in the report of the 
Bureau of Public Personnel Administration are more 
generally adopted, it seems reasonable to expect that 
a library should make these fundamental provisions 
for its staff: 

1. The appointment of a librarian who meets the 
full requirements of education and experience con- 
tained in the recommendations of the A. L. A, Board 
of Education for Librarianship. 

2. The appointment of a staff which has a reason- 
ably adequate number of people with the qualifica- 
tions of preparation and experience set forth in the 
above-mentioned studies. 

3. The provision of a salary schedule liberal enough 
to secure qualified people, and to maintain the staff at 
standard without too high a turnover. 

4. Provision for continuance of mental and pro- 
fessional growth. 

a. Plans for continued education of staff 
members through training classes and attend- 
ance on college courses. 

b. Allowance of expenses for attendance of 
the librarian and some of the staff at state 
library meetings. 

c. The granting of time for attending the con- 
ferences of the American Library Association^ 


and allowance of expenses > whenever possible, of 
the librarian. 

d. The encouragement of membership in the 
American Library Association and the library 
association of the state. 

5. Attention given to the maintenance of good 
health of staff members. 

a. Proper working conditions. 

b. Allowance of a vacation of one month, 
with pay, for every member of the professional 
staff who has worked at least eleven months. 


The American Library Association has set a stand- 
ard of measurement for income, in the following 
resolution, adopted in 1921: 

"The American Library Association believes that 
$i per capita of the population of the community 
served is a reasonable minimum annual revenue for 
the library in a community desiring to maintain a 
good modern public library system with trained 

"This sum should cover a main library with reading 
room facilities, branch libraries and reading rooms 
within easy reach of all the people, a registration of 
card holders equal to at least thirty per cent of the 
population, and a considerable collection of the more 
expensive books of reference, with a home use of 
about five volumes per capita per year. 


"This allowance of per capita revenue may need 
modification In the case of very small or very large 
communities, or communities which are otherwise 
exceptional. Small communities may often obtain 
increased library service for the same expenditure per 
capita by enlarging the area of administration. The 
situation In large communities is often modified by 
the presence of good endowed libraries free for public 

"Communities desiring their libraries to supply 
these needs extensively and with the highest grade of 
trained service, will find It necessary to provide a sup- 
port much larger than the minimum of $i per capita. 
This should cover extension work sufficient to bring 
home to the children, the foreign speaking people, 
business men, artisans, advanced students, public 
officials, and in general all classes of the people, the 
opportunities that such a library Is not only ready but 
able to afford, with a service that is administered by 
trained librarians having special knowledge In their 
particular departments." 

Book collection 

Wise selection of books to meet the needs of the 
community; regular receipt of new accessions, to keep 
the collection up to date; discarding of titles that have 
outlived their usefulness; and prompt reblnding or 
repair of worn books that are still useful; these are the 
factors which determine the value of the book coliec- 


tion. A library which attempts to provide a book 
collection adequate for good service will maintain the 
following standards as a minimum: 

1. The total number of accessioned volumes in the 
library shall be equal to at least one and one-half 
volumes per capita of the community served. 

2. The reference collection shall contain a majority 
of the titles in the suggestive list of one hundred refer- 
ence books In Mudge 5 New guide to reference books* 
(A. L. A. 1923), pages 231-33.^ 

3. The children's collection^ Including juvenile ref- 
erence books and the collections of the central library 
and the branches, shall equal two volumes for every 
child enrolled In the public schools through the 
eighth grade, 

4. The current periodical collection shall include a 
reasonable proportion of the periodicals currently In- 
dexed In Readers* Guide, special attention being given 
to range of subject matter and to local needs. 

5. A complete inventory of the book collection 
shall be taken every year. 


One of the principal methods of measuring the 

extent of the library's service as shown by the circula- 
tion of books., Is the number of volumes circulated per 
caplta > based on the total population of the com- 
munity served. A fair standard is that the circulation 

2 New edition in progress, 1928, 


should be equal to five volumes per capita, in a city 
of over 100,000 population; or six volumes per capita 
in a city of from 20,000 to 100,000 population; or 
eight volumes per capita in a city of less than 20,000 
inhabitants. 3 

The usual method, and practically the only method, 
of evaluating the circulation statistically, is based on 
the percentage of non-fiction in the whole number of 
books issued. A good standard is that the non-fiction 
should comprise at least 30 per cent of the total circu- 
lation. In other words, an attempt is made to judge 
the circulation not only by the number of volumes, but 
also by the kind of books given out. It requires little 
effort or intelligence to circulate a large number of 
popular current novels in any community. Of course, 
the weakness of this method of judging the circula- 
tion is the fact that many books of non-fiction are of 
secondary value and importance, whereas a great 
many works of fiction are very well worth reading. 

The St. Louis Public Library made a measure of 
the quality of fiction circulation. The fiction circula- 
tion statistics were divided into three grades, A, B, 
and C. "A" consisted almost entirely of the recog- 
nized standards, including very few living authors. 

3 Another measure sometimes used is the ratio between the number of vol- 
umes circulated and the number of registered borrowers. This, of course, does 
not measure the service to the entire community. Still, if it is found that the 
average circulation to each borrower is increasing year by year, this is an indica- 
tion that he is coming to the library for an enlarging range of interests. 

For comparative statistics of circulation in public libraries see A survey of 
libraries In the United States, i :2 


"B" had the better of the current books, and "C" 
most of the relatively trivial and ephemeral works. 
Percentages showed "A" equaled 23; "B" equaled 37; 
"C" equaled 40. From the results Dr. Arthur E. 
Bostwick concluded: "It is a fair interpretation to 
say that at least 60 per cent of our fiction circulation 
has been of books that anyone would class as intel- 
lectually worth while/' 

Reference service 

To measure the reference service statistically is 
even more difficult than to measure the work of the 
lending department on the basis of numbers alone. 
Reference service consists, first, in providing books, 
magazines., papers, and pamphlets, which will enable 
readers to obtain the information they want in 
answer to certain specific questions, or to obtain 
material needed in connection with the study of some 
particular subject; and, second, in giving the readers 
whatever assistance they may require in use of this 
material. A record of the number of times the books 
are consulted is difficult to keep in the modern 
library, where most of the reference books are on 
shelves accessible to all readers, and such a record, if 
kept, would have very little significance; the diction- 
ary may be consulted by one reader to learn the 
proper spelling of a word, and an exhaustive article in 
a scientific book or magazine may be given several 
hours of study by another, yet the statistics could not 


differentiate between the two "times used." Sta- 
tistics of the number of "questions answered'* are 
likewise of little significance, for one question may be 
answered in a minute, or less, and another may 
require an hour, or more. A classified record of ques- 
tions asked, divided into several groups according to 
the time required in answering them, would be diffi- 
cult to keep at a busy desk, and the results would not 
be worth the time and effort so expended. 

Most libraries, however, think it necessary to keep 
some kind of statistical record, for as good an indica- 
tion as possible of the extent to which the reference 
and reading rooms are used. Some record the total 
number of people using the rooms each day; others 
count the number of people using them at certain 
hours throughout the day; others, the number of 
books sent for from the stacks; and many record, for 
whatever it may be worth, the number of questions 
asked. Some librarians keep a record of users on 
three days each month and from this estimate the 
total for the month. Many keep a record of the num- 
ber of questions asked over the telephone, which is an 
interesting indication of the extent to which readers 
have learned to avail themselves of this privilege; but 
many libraries do not ordinarily give this service, or 
do not advertise it. A record of the number of books 
borrowed from other libraries through the inter- 
library loan system is of some value as an indication 
of how successfully the library is meeting the needs of 


students In obtaining for them material not contained 
in th library's own collection. 

Work with children 

The future of any public library now depends very 
largely upon its work with the children and young 
people. Every up-to-date public library provides for 
the children their own room, adequately equipped to 
meet the needs of young people, with a book collec- 
tion selected with the utmost care for boys and girls 
during each period of their growth and development. 
We have the same statistical measurements of service 
to apply to the work with children that we have for 
the work with adults: the registration shows what 
proportion of the pupils in the schools are card-holders, 
and the number of books borrowed shows the quantity 
of circulation. But the really vital elements of work 
with children can be measured by statistics even less 
satisfactorily than can the work with mature readers. 
There must be a children's librarian and staff, trained 
and experienced in the literature and methods of work 
with children, who understand how to be real compan- 
ions in the realm of print and to guide wisely the read- 
ing of each individual child. Their influence, and the 
influence of the books > cannot be set down in figures. 

Community service 

A fairly direct measurement of the extent to which 
the library is serving the community is supplied by 


the registration records. From them the librarian can 
learn how many people, and what proportion "of the 
whole community, have sufficient interest in the 
library to claim its privileges, and whether this pro- 
portion is steadily increasing from year to year. Even 
in communities which are not increasing in popula- 
tion, the library ought to gain each year in the num- 
ber of borrowers, through the influence of the schools, 
the normal development of the "library habit," its 
publicity work and gradual expansion of its activities. 
If the registration records are carefully studied, peri- 
odically or occasionally, it is possible to obtain from 
them much useful information concerning the sec- 
tions of the city which are using the library least, and 
concerning various racial groups or other parts of the 
community which are not being served to the fullest 
possible extent. 

In order that all information gleaned from the 
registration records may be definite, accurate, and 
reasonably up-to-date, it is essential that borrowers 
should be re-registered every two or three years. A 
longer registration period produces figures which are 
not accurate, because they include the names of too 
many who are no longer in the community or have 
lost interest in the library. In comparing the service 
of one library with that of another, if the length of 
the registration period is the same in each case the 
comparison can be made with more accuracy than 
comparative studies of circulation figures. 


A study made in 1924 by Asa Wynkoop, of the 
New York State Education Department/ of the 
reports of all public libraries of the state which 
appeared to have live registration records., revealed 
the following percentages of the whole population 
registered as borrowers: 

Cities of over 100,000 population 17 per cent 

Cities between 20,000 and 100,000 27 per cent 

Cities or villages between 5,000 and 20,000 37 per cent 

Villages between 2,000 and 5,000 57 per cent 

Libraries serving an entire township 44 per cent 

These figures may serve as a more or less definite 
measure for libraries in each of the various types of 
communities. The American Library Association has 
set a minimum of 30 per cent of the community 
served, as an essential requirement of good service. 
Sixty per cent has been suggested by some librarians 
as a goal which a library should strive to reach. 

Extension agencies 

Every live library is always alert to discover new 
ways for extending its service. It seeks cooperation 
with clubs and educational or welfare organizations 
of all kinds, supplying books and lists of suggested 
reading on all topics of interest. It fosters cooperation 
with the schools, either in conjunction with the school 
library or by supplying service, together with books, 
from its own force. It endeavors to maintain an ade- 

4 New York Libraries, 9:69-77, May, 1924. 


quate number of branches and stations to meet the 
needs of the people in outlying parts of the city. A 
rapidly increasing number of libraries are feeling 
their responsibility to rural outskirts, and are extend- 
ing their service to the whole county, rather than to 
the city alone, through stations, schools, and book- 
wagon distribution. In some states there is still no 
adequate legislation authorizing municipal libraries 
to give county service, but no movement has devel- 
oped more rapidly in recent years than the county 
library movement. 

Like everything else, intelligent expansion begins 
with a well defined plan. One essential to such a plan 
is a map of the community upon which may be indi- 
cated the type of distributing agency which is needed 
at each point: a deposit of books, a station with 
service, or a full fledged branch. Library service 
should not be extended unless a sufficient number of 
trained workers are available to render this service. 
When books are sent for distribution from a drug 
store, crossroads grocery, community center or 
church, the library must depend upon clerks or upon 
public-spirited men and women of the community to 
circulate and care for the books. This is at best a 
haphazard, unprofessional kind of service, which dis- 
credits true library service, and which is all too often 
mistaken for it. In our experience, two stations in 
charge of trained staff workers proved more effective 
than five deposit collections placed in prominently 


located drug stores. The stations were open only a 
few hours a week, in contrast to the stores, which 
were open all hours of the day. The drug store clerks 
could not be expected to give as excellent service as 
the trained worker. The principle of giving service of 
trained workers, only, necessarily limits the extension 
of the library's activity. It is, however, the only safe 
course to pursue, since the demand for books and 
service will always exceed the possibility of supplying 

One of the purposes of extension service is to aid 
educational and social institutions in a supplementary 
capacity, by sending deposits of books to factories, 
business offices, department stores, fire engine and 
police stations, settlements, orphanages and homes, 
prisons and reformatories, neighborhood clubs, hos- 
pitals, and other welfare and civic organizations. It 
is fairly safe to let the accessibility of the organization 
to the library, and the available book stock, deter- 
mine the policy in extending such service. 

It is difficult to state a definite policy of establish- 
ing branch libraries. Some authorities agree that a 
library agency should be within a mile of every citi- 
zen. Others believe that there should be a branch for 
every twenty-five thousand persons. The standards 
which are set up for a branch in a large, prosperous 
city are altogether too exacting and expensive for a 
library in a small or less favored community. Fur- 
thermore, spacing by rule might bring branches too 


closely together in congested districts. In such cases, 
it is better to increase the capacity of one branch 
rather than to scatter smaller ones near it. Moreover 
the character of the locality has a good deal to do 
with the advantageous placing of a branch. It must 
be in the center rather than on the edge of a com- 
munity. A sheet of water, a park, or a neighborhood 
intersected by a railroad are factors to be seriously 
considered without regard for numbers or distances. 
Racial characteristics are determining factors. The 
Irish do not read as naturally or with as much zeal as 
do the Germans. The Latin races are induced with 
difficulty to use the library. The attitude of the 
religious leaders of the neighborhood is an important 
consideration, as is the tendency of some old neigh- 
borhoods to keep separate and distinct characteristics 
and landmarks, and to cherish a feeling of local pride. 
It seems wise never to withhold library service for 
lack of a building. Funds may not be available for the 
type of building which the community and the library 
board desire. Nevertheless, this is not a sufficient 
reason for failing to give whatever service the library 
can render. There is the book wagon. Wheels cover 
distances so effectively that it is now almost possible 
to realize the slogan "a book in every home." The 
book wagon gives direct and experienced service in 
contrast to the volunteer service of a deposit station. 
At the same time, it is effective in demonstrating 
what localities are ready for more elaborate service. 


Not Infrequently stores are rented and used for library 
rooms. To my mind, there is a great advantage in 
putting up a temporary building on an empty lot. 
This has been tried in a number of communities with 
success, and the building moved to a new location 
when the community had grown to such an extent 
that a permanent building was possible. A separate 
building tends to create a library consciousness in the 
minds of its patrons. 

A librarian saves trouble by adopting a definite 
policy as to the handling of requests which come 
from groups of citizens for the establishment of a 
branch In their neighborhood. Everyone should have 
the same respectful treatment. All too often it is 
necessary to make a careful investigation of the 
sponsors signing the petition. The state of develop- 
ment of the neighborhood, the type of citizen > etc., 
have to be considered. Local politicians may use the 
establishment of a branch library as a campaign issue, 
and other leaders may even take this means for per- 
sonal aggrandizement. Whenever a neighborhood is 
alive and determined to secure a branch, much pres- 
tige is lost to the library if it does not cooperate with 
any earnest petitioners in an endeavor to bring the 
matter to the attention of the city authorities. 

A means of reaching the entire community, one 
which needs careful consideration in the formulation 
of policy, is the possibility of giving county library 
service. While this may not be deemed a type of 


service which should be given by a medium-sized 
library, some conclusion should be reached as to 
whether greater general efficiency for the community 
at hand and for those in the outlying districts cannot 
be provided for in this way. 


How much or how little the building in which the 
library is housed has to do with the service it renders, 
is hard to say. It Is an established fact that the main 
building should be centrally located, and as attractive 
(though not ornate) as possible. The very center of a 
city Is frequently a dirty and noisy place, and the 
advantages of the central location may be offset by 
the difficulty of keeping the building clean and attrac- 
tive. On the other hand. If the library is too remote 
the inconvenience of access will deter many people 
from using it. A location in the center of a park or on 
the summit of a hill may be attractive, quiet, and clean, 
but it is too inconvenient for maximum efficiency. 

The architecture and arrangement of the building 
should be suitable for Its purposes. Unnecessary 
ornamentation; large, chilly delivery halls; and 
ornate lobbies and stairways, impede the convenience 
of those who use the library, and are therefore a hin- 
drance to good service. A building poorly planned is 
expensive to administer, and money which should go 
directly into service is wasted on extravagant main- 
tenance cost. From 10 to 20 per cent of the floor 


space of the building should be devoted to the chil- 
dren's room, and space should be provided for meet- 
ings of clubs and other organizations. 


A librarian, in order to be really effective in his 
community, must not only provide service of the 
highest quality, but must make the entire community 
conscious of the library's resources, and of the facili- 
ties for education and enjoyment which it offers to all 
citizens who will avail themselves of them. It is not 
enough to keep the regular borrowers informed. 
Publicity must be planned which will reach people 
who have seldom, or never, been inside the building. 

A considerable degree of effectiveness in publicity 
may be expected if the library conducts a continuous 
program, intelligently and consistently planned and 
carried out, embodying these features : 

1. The publication in the local newspaper, at regu- 
lar and frequent intervals, of articles about the 
library: its books, its service, its plans, and all hap- 
penings of general interest. 

2. The use of windows and outdoor bulletin cases 
for displays of books, posters, etc. 

3. The display of signs and posters calling atten- 
tion to the library's location, hours, and service, in 
hotels, railroad stations, and other prominent places. 

4. The printing or multigraphing, and wide distri- 
bution, of lists of books and other publicity material. 


The annual report of the librarian 

From summaries of conditions., of work accom- 
plished, of extension of resources and service, and of 
needs immediate and prospective, the librarian is able 
to prepare and present his annual report to the trus- 
tees and to the city. All through the year the infor- 
mation which he is going to put into his report has 
been shaping, being enlarged and revised under con- 
sideration and study; and when the end of the year 
comes the librarian is prepared to set down his find- 
ings and conclusions, and the needs whereby more 
effective service may be given. The annual report 
becomes, then, not a thing apart by itself, but merely 
the final document in the system of statistics and 
reports of the year. 

The report may possibly be considered the most 
important part of the publicity of the library. Its 
primary function is to inform those who have a right 
to know, of the outstanding facts in which they are 
most concerned, in a way which they can understand. 
It is for the trustees, the staff, the city, state, and 
national authorities, but it is most decidedly intended 
for all the intelligent people of the city, whose insti- 
tution in the last analysis the library is. 

The librarian wishes for his report the widest read- 
ing possible. He wants the people to know the nature 
and amount of work the library is doing. He has 
propositions to set forth which will some time require 


thought and action on the part of voters. It becomes, 
then, a powerful Instrument for executive work. It 
creates a document of record of administration. It 
gives an accounting; it shows needs and makes an 
appeal for the solution of problems; it makes new 
friends and new users. In order to do this, the report 
must be printed in a form intelligible to those for 
whom it is intended, and one which commands their 
attention and consideration. This fact presents a 
problem, for the readers are of different sorts. The 
trustees wish information in considerable detail. The 
city authorities want tables of statistics showing 
what return has been given for funds appropriated. 
The state authorities, charged with seeing that the 
law is fulfilled, ask for statistics in a form of easy 
comparability. The average man does not want sta- 
tistical tables, and is not interested in technical proc- 
esses as such; he wants to know what the library does, 
what it can do for him and his neighbor, and what he 
has to do to take advantage of its opportunities. He 
does take civic pride in its accomplishments, and he 
is sympathetic toward its needs because of his sense 
of responsibility to the community. But he has no 
patience with long, uninteresting, academic treatises 
about the institution. For him the report must be as 
readable as an article in the newspaper. 

Formerly librarians attempted to cover all these 
needs in one printed report. Expense of printing 
limited the edition and consequently the distribution. 


Because of the Inadequacy and poor economy of such 
forms., many librarians have adopted new methods of 
presenting their annual reports. Indeed, there is a 
growing practice of preparing the same report in sev- 
eral forms, to be submitted to various kinds of 
readers. One type of report might well answer in 
common the needs of the trustees, the city authori- 
ties, and the library staff. This group is usually not 
very large in number, and it is feasible to present the 
annual report for its use in typewritten form. It may 
be that enough copies will be needed to make it 
worth while to mimeograph it. This report is the 
document of record. It gives a full account of the 
work of the year. It contains the departmental notes, 
all the changes in the staff, the full statistics of circu- 
lation, registration and accession, the complete finan- 
cial report, and all other facts which may be impor- 
tant in years to come. This is submitted to the official 
representatives of the city government, and copies 
are kept at the library for consultation by any per- 
sons sufficiently interested to study it. One copy is 
marked "official" and becomes a part of the library's 
permanent historical record. 

For representatives of the state government, for 
the officers of the state and national library associa- 
tions, and for other public libraries, statistics in the 
form of the A. L. A. summary will usually suffice. 

To reach the general public, probably there is no 
better medium than small circulars of from four to 


sixteen pages,, or the local newspaper. On the ground 
that everyone reads newspapers an ever increasing 
number of libraries in small towns and large cities are 
printing their annual reports in the local press. Many 
papers accept the report in full and print it as news, 
but others do not allow so much space. In such cases., 
however, it is usually possible to buy space at less cost 
than would be the case for a like distribution by any 
other method. A column of newspaper space may 
equal in length all the words that can be crowded into 
an eight or twelve page circular, and the newspaper 
may reach one hundred times as many persons. It is 
probably a better investment, if both forms are not 
possible, to concentrate on the newspaper form. The 
newspapers will usually run off extra copies, or re- 
print whatever additional reports the library may 

This type of report presents a concise story of the 
most essential features of the year's work the high 
lights only; and of those things, chiefly what a news- 
paper reporter would select to feature in a Sunday 
edition. It includes an interesting statement of pur- 
poses and policies of the library; growth of book- 
stock, with mention of number of gifts; circulation of 
books by distributing points, adult and juvenile; the 
amount and diversity of reference work; important 
additions; branch and station work; plans for the 
coming year; outstanding needs. Under the appro- 
priate headings attention will be called to -per capita 


costs, circulation and similar figures, and to efforts 
made to secure greater service with the available 
appropriation; and, in general, those definite figures 
which will tell taxpayers how their money is being 
spent, will be given. 


An effective library report. Library Journal, 48:216, March i, 1923. 

FAIR, ETHEL M. A unit for library service. Wisconsin Library Bulletin, 21 :iy2~ 

74, July, 1925. 
FRANK, MARY. Drawing the line in extension work. Library Journal, 49:279- 

80, March 15, 1924. 
HAD LEY, CHALMERS. Quality values of library service. Public Libraries, 

30:525-30, December, 1925. 
HALL, ANNA G. Leading items in judging a library's work and standing. New 

York Libraries, 8:71-72, May, 1922. 
HYDE, DORSEY \V. S JR. The economic value of library service. Library Journal, 

4y:595-9 6 3 July, I 9- 2 - 

JOHN, E. H. Measures of library service. Libraries, 32 1471-4, November, 1927. 

JONES, FRANK M. Library service for "greater Wilmington.*' Wilmington 

(Del.) Institute Free Library, 1926. 
KENNEDY, HELEN T. When is a branch library justified? Libraries, 31:1-4, 

January, 1926. 

LONG, HARRIET C. County library service. A. L. A., 1925. 
Measuring library service. A. L. A. Bulletin, 17:518-19, 1923. 
Measuring results and economy of loan and reference work. Librarians of 

Large Public Libraries, Proceedings of conference, January 1-2, 1 925, p. 23-3 1 . 
MUNN, RALPH. Library reports. Library Journal, 48:413-14, May I, 1923. 
RANCK, SAMUEL H. Making a community conscious of its library. Library 

Journal, 48:945-49, November 15, 1923. 
ROBINSON, JULIA A. Library efficiency test. A. L. A., 1920. 

Public Library Opportunities 

THE administration of a public library appeals 
to anyone with executive instinct, for three 
fundamental reasons. It involves the same 
processes of organization and execution that the di- 
rection of any enterprise demands. It is essentially an 
American institution; based on the elemental prin- 
ciples of democracy, it is a logical instrument for 
coordination with other social agencies established 
for the common weal. As an important factor in the 
intellectual growth of the people, it offers sufficient 
challenge to executive leadership to warrant the de- 
votion of a lifetime to its service. 

The free public library embodies those elemental 
principles which make democracy dynamic. It is a 
part of the directing tradition of America, as well as 
a product of it. The establishment of democracy in 
America guaranteed to Its citizens liberty and equal- 
ity. The public library offers unlimited opportunity 
for the practice of these principles. It is not an old- 
world institution, transplanted and superimposed on 
America. It is not governed or dominated by any 
single authority. It recognizes individual liberty and 
freedom to work out individual destiny. It is not an 
institution apart from the people, nor does it serve 



any one class alone. Its function Is to make available 

to everyone material on all sides of every question,, in 
order that readers may form intelligent conclusions of 

their own. 

For more than fifty years the public library has had 
for its program "the best reading, for the greatest 
number,, at the least cost." Its function is "the 
enrichment of human life in the entire community by 
bringing to the people the books that belong to 
them." Not all the books they may desire, does this 
mean, but the reading best suited to their ability, 
interests, and habits of thought. It has sought to 
make itself indispensable to all classes of the com- 
munity: to city officials, merchants, manufacturers, 
professional men, farmers, and mechanics; it has en- 
deavored to assist the artisans to perfect themselves 
in their work, the foreign-born resident to become 
conversant with American ideals and customs, and 
the student to supplement the instruction given in 
the classroom. It has been an aid in the promotion of 
industry, national welfare, local enterprise, and indi- 
vidual advancement, and has established itself as a 
powerful social factor wherever it is adequately sup- 
ported and properly administered. 

Forward-looking librarians are today giving them- 
selves very thoroughly to the problem of continued 
education, that the public library may be called "the 
people's university" with more accuracy than in the 
past. The challenge comes to every librarian to 


organize personnel and resources in such wise that 
his library may serve as a qualified intellectual center, 
and may take well its part in the "adult education" 
movement that has been growing in importance and 
emphasis during the last decade. 

After a detailed survey of the public library, no 
less an authority on education than Dr. William S. 
Learned of the Carnegie Foundation has this to say: 
"The foregoing sketch of the educational activities 
being currently undertaken by public libraries is suffi- 
cient indication that these institutions are success- 
fully embarking on a career of most remarkable sig- 
nificance. That a free community book exchange is 
destined to be transformed into an active intelligence 
center through the addition of a competent staff of 
scholars trained in fitting books to human needs, is an 
idea as dimly perceived today as was the free library 
itself seventy-five years ago. Nevertheless, could the 
new features ... be combined in one city, the 
result would be an institution of astonishing power, 
a genuine community university bringing intelligence 
systematically and persuasively to bear on all adult 
affairs. If duplicated from city to city and organized 
on a regional or county basis for rural and semi-urban 
districts, it would immediately take its place as the 
chief instrument of our common intellectual and cul- 
tural progress. The true educational establishment of 
a town or city would in that case center in the public 
intelligence organization with its many branches 


whereby needful Information would be marshalled 
primarily for adult use. The elementary and second- 
ary schools would be the subsidiary feeders for the 
greater institution, serving the special needs of the 
young citizen, and training him for progressive self- 
education in the larger environment/' 1 

In a significant article, Dr. C. C. Williamson 
wrote: 2 "Trying to forecast what the future holds that 
must be taken Into account in planning for library 
progress, It seems to me we can safely assume that: 
transportation and communication will constantly 
Improve, which means, among other things, that less 
and less reason will exist for even fairly large libraries 
trying to hold in their own local collections all the 
books that are to be used In the community at any 
time; all branches of the public service must increase 
in efficiency, because the public will demand a full 
return for the expenditure of public money; every- 
body will be trained for his work; . . . special- 
ization of function will receive still more emphasis, 
giving the benefits of division of labor and requiring a 
more scientific organization; all processes that can be 
reduced to routine will take advantage of the econo- 
mies of large scale operations; Illiteracy will practical- 
ly disappear, while working hours grow shorter, and a 
larger proportion of the population will demand an 

1 Learned, W. S. The American public library and the diffusion of knowl- 
edge, p. 56. 

2 Williamson, C. C. A look ahead for the small library, A. L. A. Bulletin, 
1919, 13:141-6. 


opportunity to make practical use of their ability to 
read; new methods of instruction and new avenues of 
recreation and culture will arise, some requiring the 
cooperation of the library, others competing with it. 
The library must be flexible in spirit and organiza- 
tion; we shall know more about the formation and 
control of public opinion In a democracy. There is an 
important role for the public library if it can adapt 
Itself to the needs of the hour." 


BELDEN, CHARLES F. D. The function of the public library. "More Books/* 

Boston Public Library, 1:257-59, September-November, 1926. 
BGSTWICK., A. E. The library in a democracy. Michigan Library Bulletin, 

17:39-44, March-April, 1926. 

FISHER, D, C. Why stop learning? New York, 1927, chapter 2. 
IBBOTSON, JOSEPH D. The public library in a democracy. New York Libraries, 

8:134-35, November, 1922. 
JENNINGS, JUDSON T. Sticking to our last. Library Journal, 49:613-18, July, 

LEARNED, WILLIAM S. The American public library and the diffusion of 

knowledge. New York, 1924. 
Libraries and adult education: report of a study made by the American 

Library Association. A. L. A., 1 926. 
TXGERT, JOHN J. The function of the public library in a democracy. Library 

Journal, 47:107-11, February I, 1922. 
TYLER, ALICE S. Goals in library development. Library Journal, 52:1065-7, 

November I, 1927. 
TYLER, ALICE S. Some aspects of library progress. Library Journal, 45:585-88, 

July, 1921. 


Accounting, 64 

Administrative organization, 115 and 

ff; references, 140-41 
Adult education, 169 

A. L. A. catalog 1926, cited, 105 
American Library Association, an- 
nual financial statement, 88; clas- 
sification plans for library positions, 
128; Committee on library revenue, 
53; Committee on salaries, 129; Re- 
vised form for public library sta- 
tistics, 60, 61 ; standard of salaries, 


Annual report, see Librarian 
Appointments, see Staff appointments 

Apportionment of municipal budget, 54 
Appropriation, annual allotment from 

city budget, 55 
Approval, books on, 94 

Bidding, 106 

Bills, form, 75; steps in payment, 79, 
812; voucher for payment, form, 

? 6 77 .. ^ 

Board organization, see Trustees 
Book collection, 149 
Book funds, 90 
Book market, 93 
Book needs of community, 92 
Book purchase, approval books by 
mail, 94; economies, 98; importa- 
tion, 96; local dealer, 94; references, 
114; "remainders," 95; replace- 
ments, 103; second-hand book mar- 
Book selection, principles, 91 
Book wagon, 159 
Books discarded, 103 
Bostwick, A. E.^ quoted, 53, 153 
Branches, establishment, 158; branch 

organization, 136 and ff 
Budget, 58, 71 ; form, 74 
Building, measure of service, 161 
Bureau of Public Personnel Adminis- 
tration, 128, 131 
Buying, principles, 90 

By-laws, of trustees, 32, 35; of Syra- 
cuse Public Library, 41 and ff 

Cannons, H, G. T., vi 
Carson, W. O., quoted, 53 

Certificate of books received on free 
entry, 98 

Certification of librarians, 127 
Checks, warrant authorizing issuance, 

Children, work with, measure of serv- 

jce, 154 

Circulation of books, measure of serv- 
ice, 150 
City treasurer, library accounts, 62; 

warrant for payment of funds, 80 
Civil Service, 125 

Classified service, see Graded service 
Collins, Joseph, quoted, 18 
Committees of trustees, see Trustees 
Community, knowledge of, 91 
Community relationships, 144, 154 
Customs declaration, 97 

Dana, John Cotton, quoted, 2 

Declaration of free entry, form, 97 

Democracy, 168 

Department organization of work, 135 

Des Moines Public Library, organiza- 
tion charts 138; supply requisition, 

Desk schedule, 134 

Directors, see Trustees 

Discarded books, 103 

Duplicate pay collection, see Pay col- 

Education of librarian, 15 

Endowment funds, 56 

Equipment, standard, nS 

Expenditures, apportionment in 
budget, 60 and ff; Revised form for 
public library statistics, A. L. A., 
60, 61; trustees' monthly report, 78 

Extension agencies,, measure of serv- 
ice, 156 



Fiction, quality circulated, 151 
Files, correspondence, 120 
Finances, 48 and ff; references, 89 
Financial statement, sample, 87, 88 
Funds, support from public, 50 and ff 

General fund account, 63, 66; form, 67 
Gifts, form of bequest, 56 
Graded service, 126 

Herbert, Clara W., quoted, I 
Hirshberg, Herbert S., quoted, 56 
Hours of work, factors, 133; librarian's 
work schedule, 121; schedule, 133 

Importation of books, 96; declaration 

of free entry, 97 
Income, apportionment, 54, 62; 

sources, 52; standard of measure- 

ment, 148; state aid, 55 
Increases of salary, 131 
Investment ^of funds, 58 
Iowa Library Commission Leaflet, 

quoted, 9 

Kidder, H, L., quoted, 19 

Laws relating to trustees, 29 

Learned, W. S., quoted, 170 

Librarian, administrator, 12; annual 
report, 163; appointment, 147; at- 
tends board meetings, 34; diplomat, 
14; duties, ( 2, 9; education, training 
and experience, 15; executive, 8; 
office, 117; program of administra- 
tion, 1 68; qualifications, 17; rela- 
tions with board, 26; typical activi- 
ties, 4-6 

Librarian as administrator, references, 

Librarianship, a new profession, I 

Library funds, see Funds 

Lincoln Library, see Springfield, mi- 

Magazines, purchase, 105 

Mail, 121 

Measurement of service, 143 

Medium-sized libraries, list of, vii 

Merit system, see Civil Service; graded 

Minutes, of board meetings, 40 
Mudge, Isadore G., New guide to ref- 
erence books, cited, 150 
Municipal expenditures, apportion- 
ment of, 54 

Office, layout and equipment, 118 
"One dollar per capita," 148 
Ontario Public Libraries Act of 1920 


Order records, 113 
Organization of staff, 135 and ff 

Pay collection, 102 

Pay roll, form, 85, 86 

Personnel, measure of service, 146 

Petty cash, 69, 81, 82, 84; form, 71; 

sample report, 84 

Population, percentage registered, 155 
Printed forms, 107 
Program of typical day, 3 
Public library opportunities, 168 and 

ff; references, 172 
Publicity, 162 
Purchase order form, 112 
Purchasing agent, 108 

Qualifications of librarian, 17 

Receipts, Revised form for public li- 
brary statistics, A. L. A., 60, 61 

Reference service, 152 

Registration of borrowers, measure of 
service, 155 

Rental collection, see Pay collection 

Replacement of books, 103 

Report, American Library Associa- 
tion annual financial statement, 88; 
annual financial statement, 87; li- 
brarian's annual, 163; librarian's 
report of petty cash, 84; publicity 
through reports, 164; treasurers 
monthly, 83 

Requisition of supplies, 109 

St. Louis Public Library, fiction cir- 
culation, 151 

Salaries, A. L. A. standard of, 130; 
automatic increases, 131; relation 
between qualification and compen- 
sation, 129; schedule, 132 

Schedule of office routine, 121 

Schedules, taff, see Hours of work 

Schemes of service, 125 

Seattle Public Library, organization 
chart, 136 

Service measurements, 142 

Service standards, 126 

Springfield, Illinois, Lincoln Library, 
A. L. A. report, 88; bills, 75; finan- 
cial statement, 87; pay roll, 85; pay- 
ment of bills procedure, 79; petty 
cash account, 72-3; procedure of 
petty cash, 81, 84; report on expen- 
ditures, 78; treasurer's report, 83; 
voucher, 76-7; warrant, So 

Staff appointments, 125, 128, 147 

Staff building, 123 

Staff organization, charts, 13 5 and ff; 
departmental organization, 135; 
graded service, 125; principles, 123 
and ff; unclassified, 124 

Staff, routine duties, 116; schedules, 


Standard account forms, 66 
Standard equipment, 118 
State grants from public funds, 55 
Statistics, A. L. A. form, 61; basis of 
measurement, 142; financial, 148; 
records, 163; references, 167 
Statistical standards, 145 
Stock jecords, 108, in 
Supplies, economy of purchase, 106; 
purchase order, 108; record of con- 
sumption, 108; references, 114 
Supply requisition blank, 109 
Support, from public funds, 50 
Snfvey of libraries in the United 

cited, 29, 63, 125, 126, 127, 129, 151 

INDEX 175 

Syracuse Public Library, 41 

Taxation, tax levy, 51; tax rate, 52; 
Ontario Public Libraries Act of 
1920, 53 

Telford, Fred, Bureau of Public Per- 
sonnel Administration report, 128, 

Thomson, 0. R. H., Reasonable budg- 
ets for public libraries, cited, 60, 62 

Time schedules, 133 

Treasurer, monthly report, sample 
form, 83 

Trustees, appointment, 28; by-laws of 
board, 41; committee organization, 
36; constitution of board, 28; county 
library board, 29; functions of board, 
21 and ff; laws relating to boards, 
29; meetings, 32 and ff; qualifica- 
tions, 31; references, 46; relation of 
librarian and board, 26; size of 
board, 30; term of office, 31 

U. S. Census Bureau, financial sta- 
tistics, 54 

Utica Public Library, 112 

Walter, F. K., quoted, 19 
Warrant, for payment of bills, form, 80 
Weeding book collection, 104 
Wheeler, J. L., vi; The library and the 

community , cited, 15 
Williamson, C. C, quoted, 171 
Work responsibility schedule, 134 _ 
Wynkoop, Asa, study of registration 

records, 156 

Youngstown Public Library, organi- 
zation chart, 139